As President Trump’s reelection prospects continued to dim on Wednesday, his campaign launched an aggressive yet questionable strategy to keep Joe Biden from winning the state of Pennsylvania.
Trump’s campaign announced on Wednesday afternoon that it was suing to prevent the state from proceeding with tallying ballots there “to stop Democratic election officials from hiding the ballot counting and processing from our Republican poll observers,” the Associated Press reported.
The Trump campaign is also backing a Republican lawsuit filed with the U.S. Supreme Court that seeks to prevent legally cast mail-in ballots postmarked by a Nov. 3 deadline but that arrived after Election Day from being counted. So far, the Supreme Court has allowed Pennsylvania officials to continue counting those ballots.
In a tweet posted Wednesday afternoon following a hastily called news conference with campaign surrogates who included Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani and the president’s son Eric, the president said he had “claimed” wins in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia and North Carolina, where the counting of ballots continues.
“We have claimed, for Electoral Vote purposes, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (which won’t allow legal observers) the State of Georgia, and the State of North Carolina, each one of which has a BIG Trump lead,” Trump wrote in tweets that were quickly flagged on Twitter as containing disputed or misleading election information. “Additionally, we hereby claim the State of Michigan if, in fact, there was a large number of secretly dumped ballots as has been widely reported!”
There is no evidence to support Trump’s claims of secretly dumped ballots, and the Associated Press has yet to call races in Pennsylvania, Georgia and North Carolina, as enough outstanding ballots remain that either Trump or Biden could yet prevail there.
With an estimated 83 percent of the ballots counted in Pennsylvania, Trump held a 352,000-vote lead over Biden, but that margin had fallen throughout the day as more votes were tallied. Democrats believe they have enough uncounted ballots to push Biden over the top in the state, snuffing out all hopes Trump might still have for winning reelection.
Knowing that their chances of victory are diminishing, Team Trump sought to stop the clock on Wednesday with a public relations offensive that was immediately flagged on Twitter as being potentially misleading.
We have won Pennsylvania!
— Eric Trump (@EricTrump) November 4, 2020
VICTORY for President @realDonaldTrump in PENNSYLVANIA ‼️
— Kayleigh McEnany (@kayleighmcenany) November 4, 2020
While the Trump campaign also announced on Wednesday that it would seek a recount in Wisconsin, where Biden has been declared the winner, it simultaneously moved to halt the counting of votes in Michigan, where, with more than 98 percent of the vote counted, Biden leads Trump by a little more than 61,000 votes.
As for the legal maneuvers in Pennsylvania, officials in the state pledged to continue counting ballots.
“No one is going to rush anything. No one is going to be able to question the underlying validity of the results when they are finalized in Pennsylvania,” Lt. Gov. John Fetterman said in a Wednesday interview with MSNBC.
It remains to be seen whether the courts will come to Trump’s rescue in Pennsylvania, but legal experts remain skeptical that a strategy of pushing for the recounting of every vote cast in one state will square with attempting to halt the counting of legally cast ballots in others.
They're doing this because they're losing.
There's just no remotely plausible legal justification for stopping the count *now.* Especially in a state like PA, most of the ballots that are left are the ones that came in *first.* Let them finish first; then go to court if need be. https://t.co/ewnAad2ANh
— Steve Vladeck (@steve_vladeck) November 4, 2020
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