President Donald Trump suggested Sunday that Joe Biden had “won” the presidential election while saying that the election was rigged — a claim that has been widely debunked.
“He won because the Election was Rigged,” Trump wrote before falsely claiming that no watchers or observers had been allowed.
It was not clear whether the tweet represented a grudging or an accidental concession by Trump that he had lost the election, which he has repeatedly claimed to have won, even after every major news organization projected Biden as the victor.
A White House official, asked whether Trump was admitting that Biden won, said: “It looks like it.”
Asked whether the tweet was the beginning of Trump’s version of a concession, the official said “it very well may be” and noted that it was the second such signal Trump had sent in recent days. The first was his Rose Garden slip-up, in which he mused about the possibility of another administration’s taking over. And he has also seemed to admit that Biden had won Arizona.
But a few minutes after the tweet, Trump appeared to rush back to Twitter to make it clear that he was not conceding.
“He only won in the eyes of the FAKE NEWS MEDIA,” Trump wrote. “I concede NOTHING!” He went on to repeat his false claim that the election was rigged.
In his tweets, Trump falsely said mechanical glitches with voting machines on election night “were really THEM getting caught trying to steal votes.”
Top government and industry officials have said that the 2020 election was “the most secure in American history” and that there was “no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes or was in any way compromised.”
Twitter quickly added a warning to Trump’s post. The company has added multiple labels to tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account, including many that made unfounded allegations of voting fraud.
Trump has yet to concede the election, and the delay — which has extended for over a week — is already keeping Biden from receiving high-level intelligence briefings and complicating his team’s plans to move swiftly on the coronavirus.
Biden’s team has said the transition is progressing despite the Trump administration’s continued refusal to recognize a new president-elect, but it acknowledged that the longer the delay goes on, the worse its effects will be.
Biden’s incoming White House chief of staff, Ron Klain, said on NBC News’ “Meet the Press” that Trump’s early morning tweet was “a further confirmation of the reality that Joe Biden won the election.”
“And not through any of the rest of that tweet, not through fraud or anything else the president is baselessly alleging,” Klain added, saying Biden “won through more votes.”
“What we really want to see this week is for the General Services Administration to issue that ascertainment, so we can” move forward on national security and Covid-19 issues, he said.