Trump walks back statement praising ‘highly respected’ GOP auditors after they confirmed that Biden won Arizona

Trump
Former President Trump. Win McNamee/Getty Images
  • Trump backpedaled from praising a group of “highly respected auditors” in Arizona after they confirmed Biden won the state.
  • He released a second statement claiming the “audit” found “significant and undeniable evidence of FRAUD!”
  • Trump had repeatedly hyped the sham audit and claimed it would vindicate his claims about a rigged election.
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Former President Donald Trump backpedaled hard from praising a group of “highly respected auditors” in Arizona after their “audit” of the state’s election results confirmed that Joe Biden won in the general election. He also released a second statement Friday morning claiming the audit found “significant and undeniable evidence of FRAUD!”

The partisan audit by the GOP group Cyber Ninjas concluded that Biden won by a slightly higher margin than was previously known, according to a draft of its findings obtained by media outlets. The official report will be presented to Arizona state Senate at 1 p.m. Friday.

Cyber Ninjas was widely denounced for conducting a “sham” audit to vindicate right-wing conspiracy theories claiming that Trump won the state and that the election was stolen from him. But the draft of the audit’s findings flew in the face of those claims and found that Trump actually lost to Biden by hundreds more votes in Arizona’s largest county.

“Interesting that the Unselect Committee of political hacks ‘dropped’ their subpoena request the night before Arizona is expected to announce its findings from the Forensic Audit on voter fraud in the 2020 Presidential Election Scam,” Trump said in his original statement, which was sent around 11 p.m. ET on Thursday.

“This is what they do, this is what they are good at – but everybody will be watching Arizona tomorrow to see what the highly respected auditors and Arizona State Senate found out regarding the so-called Election!” the statement continued.

But the former president seemed unaware that around the time his statement was posted, details of the audit had already been released, and it found that Trump lost to Biden by more than 300 more votes in Maricopa County.

Shortly after 10 a.m. ET on Friday, Trump released a new statement calling attention to the “huge findings in Arizona.”

“However, the Fake News Media is already trying to ‘call it’ again for Biden before actually looking at the facts-just like they did in November!” the statement continued, adding that the sham audit “uncovered significant and undeniable evidence of FRAUD!”

In fact, the Cyber Ninjas review concluded that the group’s recount of ballots cast in Maricopa County in the 2020 election had “no substantial differences” from the certified tallies.

Maricopa County Board Chairman Jack Sellers said as much in a statement about the draft, saying that “the tabulation equipment counted the ballots as they were designed to do, and the results reflect the will of the voters.”

“That should be the end of the story,” he continued. “Everything else is just noise.”

Still, Trump insisted in his second statement that “until we know how and why this happened, our Elections will never be secure.”

Cybersecurity and election efforts concluded that the 2020 election was the safest and most secure election in US history, despite a huge influx of mail-in ballots amid the raging COVID-19 pandemic.

Maricopa County election officials also on Friday slammed the Cyber Ninjas audit, saying in a Twitter thread that it “did not build trust.”

“Good audits built trust. B/c they are conducted by experienced professionals who use well-defined, proven processes which produce reproducible results, good election audits provide quantifiable proof that that reported results match the canvass,” read a tweet from the county’s official account. “Board members support good audits. Regardless of what ends up in the final report, what Cyber Ninjas & co. conducted was not a good audit.”

Note: An initial version of this story incorrectly said that Trump reportedly deleted his original statement, citing ABC News’ reporting.