Trump makes baseless claims about ‘illegally received’ ballots in Pennsylvania during fractious tweetstorm

Image
President Trump speaks in the briefing room at the White House. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
  • President Trump has kicked off his Saturday morning with a tweetstorm making baseless claims about “illegally received” votes in Pennsylvania and other battleground states.
  • Trump claimed “tens of thousands of votes were illegally received after 8 P.M. on Tuesday, Election Day,” without offering any evidence.
  • Twitter labelled four of Trump’s tweets from Saturday morning as disputed and potentially misleading.
  • Insider and its partner Decision Desk HQ called Pennsylvania, and the race, for Democratic nominee and President-elect Joe Biden on Friday morning, though other outlets have yet to follow suit.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

President Trump kicked off his Saturday morning with evidence-free claims that Joe Biden’s current lead in battleground states, including Pennsylvania, is based on “illegally received” late ballots.

Trump complained on Twitter: “Tens of thousands of votes were illegally received after 8 P.M. on Tuesday, Election Day, totally and easily changing the results in Pennsylvania and certain other razor-thin states.”

Trump tweet

Trump’s remarks are without evidence. Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court had ruled that mail-in ballots that came in up to three days after Election Day would be counted, in light of the pandemic and postal service delays.

That ruling is in limbo after a legal challenge by the Republicans. As it stands, election officials are setting aside mail-in ballots received after Election Day, in case they are invalidated.

Trump also claimed, inaccurately, that poll observers were not permitted to observe vote counts in states including Pennsylvania. “BAD THINGS HAPPENED INSIDE,” he tweeted. “BIG CHANGES TOOK PLACE!”

Yet, when the administration made this same argument and tried to get Philadelphia’s count halted in a federal court on Thursday, the case was thrown out. Per reporting by The Financial Times, Trump’s campaign lawyer was forced to admit its observers did have access to the count. The judge responded: “I’m sorry, then what’s your problem?”

Twitter marked all four of Trump’s tweets as disputed and potentially misleading. A large number of Trump’s tweets posted from Tuesday onwards have been labelled as misleading by the platform.

Trump Saturday PA tweets

Omar Sabir, city commissioner for Philadelphia, where President-elect Joe Biden continues to rack up votes, told CNN shortly after Trump tweeted: “Everyone has freedom of speech. He has his opinion, that’s his opinion, but just because he makes it his opinion doesn’t make it a fact. It doesn’t make it a truth. Philadelphia is going to get a safe, it’s going to get a secure, it’s going to get an accurate election.”

Insider and its partners Decision Desk HQ projected victory in Pennsylvania, and therefore the race, for President-elect Joe Biden on Friday morning. Other outlets, including Fox and AP, have not made the call and the ongoing vote tabulation remains closely watched as of Saturday morning.