Formal US President Trump wavers between reality and election fiction with eye on his legacy during Rose Garden vaccine address

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Last Updated on November 15, 2020 by admin

The formal United States of America President Donald Trump had an eye on his legacy as he strode to the microphone in the White House Rose Garden Friday and touted the administration’s “unequaled and unrivaled” efforts to help produce a coronavirus vaccine through Operation Warp Speed. Then, for a brief moment, he seemed close to acknowledging the reality that his presidency is almost over.

“I will not — this administration will not be doing a lockdown,” Trump said, speaking for the first time in a week as coronavirus cases in the US shatter records and hospitalizations are surging. “Hopefully whatever happens in the future — who knows which administration it will be — I guess time will tell, but I can tell you this administration will not go to a lockdown.”

It was a fleeting shift in tone suggesting that the reality of President-elect Joe Biden’s substantial win is seeping into Trump’s psyche even as he and his advisers publicly deny it.

The Democrat now has 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232 as a result of wins in two longtime Republican states, Arizona and Georgia, CNN projects — far above the 270 threshold that Biden needed to clinch the presidency. But the indisputable math has not prevented the President from continuing to try to whip up outrage among his supporters on Twitter with unfounded accusations that the election has been stolen from him.

Friday’s speech in the Rose Garden was a portrait of a President clinging to power as his legal challenges to the election results crumble around him, mindful that he ought to show Americans what he’s been doing with the power of government as he spends his days tweeting conspiracy theories about lost or deleted votes in the midst of a pandemic that is coursing through the United States.

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Both the President and his enablers still refuse to acknowledge that they are creating national security risks by blocking the transition to a Biden administration from going forward. But Trump’s former White House chief of staff, John Kelly, did not hold back in a statement Friday night where he said the consequences of Trump’s intransigence could be catastrophic.

“The delay in transitioning is an increasing national security and health crisis,” Kelly said in a statement. “It costs the current administration nothing to start to brief Mr. Biden, (Vice President-elect Kamala) Harris, the new chief-of-staff, and ALL identified cabinet members and senior staff as they are identified over the days and weeks ahead. That said, the downside to not doing so could be catastrophic to our people regardless of who they voted for.”

The bipartisan 9/11 Commission also cited the abbreviated presidential transition after the contested election in 2000 as a reason why the nation was not prepared for the terrorist attacks, but national security arguments have not seemed to concern Trump.

Trafficking in falsehoods

Before and after the Rose Garden event, Trump seemed most engaged in trafficking false theories about how voting software glitches could have changed votes in his fact-free zone of Twitter, even as top election officials in his own administration shot those theories down.

One of Trump’s chief targets was Dominion Voting Systems, an election software company, that he claimed somehow altered the results in Arizona. “No wonder the result was a very close loss,” he tweeted.

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But those exact theories were deemed baseless this week by the federal agency that oversees election security, the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency, in a statement along with state and private election officials: “There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised,” the agency said in its statement.

Dominion Voting Systems also released a lengthy memo Friday underscoring that the company is non-partisan, that there were no software glitches — and that “ballots were accurately tabulated and results are 100% auditable.” The company stated that “vote deletion/switching assertions are completely false.”

Ben Hovland, a Trump nominee who runs the Election Assistance Commission that was charged, in part, with testing and certifying voting machines, called the conspiracy theories “baffling” and insulting to the professionals who run elections across the country.

During an interview with CNN’s Erin Burnett, he pointed out that many of the wild claims Trump is espousing have not shown up in the Trump team’s legal filings in the courts — in part because there is no evidence to support them.

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“The President has had the opportunity — his lawyers have the opportunity — to present this type of evidence, these allegations, in a court of law, and we have not seen that,” Hovland said Friday night on “Erin Burnett OutFront.”

“What you’ve seen in the courts all around the country amount to nothing. … There’s nothing that we’ve seen that would cause any real doubt in the integrity of the election,” he said.

Given that Biden now has 306 electoral votes, Hovland also said it was difficult to imagine how a victory of that magnitude would be overturned.

“The professionals that run our elections have work to do and they continue to work through that process,” Hovland said. “But at this point it’s pretty evident where things are — the margins are substantial enough that is well beyond anything that you ever see in a traditional recount or anything of that nature.”

But on Friday morning, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro falsely stated on Fox Business that Trump “won the election.” “We are moving forward here at the White House under the assumption that there will be a second Trump term.”

And when White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany was pressed on Fox Business about whether Trump would attend the inauguration in January, she cavalierly replied: “I think the President will attend his own inauguration. He would have to be there, in fact.”

 

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