Fact check: With states still counting, Trump falsely claims he won

Jane C. Timm
·5 min read

President Donald Trump made a series of false and misleading claims about the 2020 election and vote-counting processes early Wednesday morning, ranging from how he's fared so far in the race to what will happen next.

Here's a look at his claims, including the states he incorrectly claimed to have won and baseless allegations that his supporters were being disenfranchised.

Neither NBC News nor any other major news organization has declared a winner in the 2020 presidential race, and either candidate, Joe Biden or Trump, could still win. Here's what the president said, and the facts.

Claim: 'A very sad group' is working to 'disenfranchise' those who cast ballots for Trump. There's no evidence of this.

“Millions and millions of people voted for us tonight. And a very sad group of people is trying to disenfranchise that group of people and we won’t stand for it,” Trump said.

Across the country, election officials are processing and tabulating valid ballots. Democrats have not sought to stop officials from counting ballots.

Claim: Trump wrongly says he is winning battleground states that NBC News has not called.

"We're winning Pennsylvania by a tremendous amount of votes," Trump said. “We're winning Michigan by — I'll tell you, I looked at the numbers, I said, 'Whoa.' I looked, I said, 'Wow that's a lot.' By almost 300,000 votes and 65 percent of the vote is in. And we're winning Wisconsin.”

This is false. Trump was leading in the vote tallies in all three states when he made this claim in his 2:20 a.m. remarks, but those states had only just began counting millions of mail ballots Tuesday. With more Democrats than Republicans voting by mail, the president's lead was expected to drop once all the eligible ballots are counted. That's exactly what happened in Wisconsin, for example. When Milwaukee reported its absentee ballot totals, Biden pulled ahead in the state shortly before 5 a.m. ET, though the race is still too close to call with 89 percent of expected vote in.

In Pennsylvania, election officials began processing nearly 2.5 million mail ballots Tuesday morning. Just before 3 a.m. ET Wednesday, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said there was more than a million ballots left to count. Officials have warned it could take days for them to process, verify and tabulate the mail ballots, and at least seven counties chose to wait to begin processing and counting mail-in ballots until Wednesday morning, due to space and resource limitations.

In Michigan, more than 3 million people have voted by mail, and most jurisdictions did not begin processing those ballots until Tuesday. While Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson had previously warned the counting could take until the end of the week, she told NBC News on Tuesday that the final tally will be coming in “much sooner than Friday."

It is not yet known who will win Pennsylvania, Michigan, or Wisconsin; NBC News has characterized all three races as "too close to call."

Trump also suggested that he won other states that NBC News has not yet called, which is not true.

“It's also clear that we have won Georgia. We're up by 2.5 percent or 117,000 votes with only 7 percent left. They're never going to catch us,” he said. “Likewise we've clearly won North Carolina.”

"They can't catch us," he added.

Georgia has not yet been called by NBC News, in part because there are absentee ballots still left to be counted. Many of those ballots are in blue counties, where votes are expected to drive up Biden’s tally. NBC News has also not called North Carolina.

Of Arizona, Trump said, "We have a lot life in that."

"That was just a state if we would have gotten it, would have been nice, Arizona. But there's a possibility, maybe even a good possibility," he said.

NBC News has characterized the Arizona presidential race as too early to call, but Joe Biden is leading.

Of the key battleground states, NBC News projects that so far Trump has won Texas, Florida, Iowa and Ohio. Biden has won Minnesota and New Hampshire, NBC News projects.

Claim: Democrats are attempting to steal the election by 'going to court.'

"They knew they couldn't win so they said let's go to court," Trump said. "Because either they were going to win or if they didn't win, they'll take us to court."

Republican attorneys actually went to court first Tuesday, filing two suits in Pennsylvania related to mail ballots and provisional ballots earlier today. The Democratic National Committee filed a motion to defend Montgomery County in a suit Tuesday evening.

Claim: The ongoing count 'is a fraud on the American public'

"This is an embarrassment to our country. We were getting ready to win this election, frankly we did win this election," Trump added.

This is false. States are legally obligated to count ballots cast by eligible voters, which does not amount to fraud, and Trump has not won. He could still win, but so could Biden.

Claim: Trump suggests he'll go directly to the Supreme Court to 'stop' counting.

"So we'll be going to the U.S. Supreme Court. We want all voting to stop. We don't want them to find any ballots at 4:00 in the morning and add them to the list, OK?"

This is misleading. The president cannot directly appeal to the Supreme Court for relief; litigation will need to be move through the federal court system before it can be appealed to the nation’s highest court.

Voting has finished, as well, and there’s no evidence that votes will be added, as Trump claims. Eligible ballots, meanwhile, will be counted.