New York: US President Donald Trump claimed victory on Wednesday morning in the 2020 presidential election while the counting of the votes was still incomplete and said that he will be going to the Supreme Court to stop “voting” alleging there was fraud.
“This is a fraud on the American public, this is an embarrassment to our country,” he told supporters at the White House on Wednesday delivering a muddled message.
“We’ll be going to the US Supreme Court. We want all voting to stop. We don’t want them to find any balance at four o’clock in the morning and add them to the list.”
Trump probably was referring to the ongoing process of counting votes, rather than “voting” because polling ended on Tuesday night.
“As far as I am concerned we already have won,” he said.
In response to an earlier Trump tweet about a “big win”, his Democratic rival Joe Biden tweeted: “It’s not my place or Donald Trump’s place to declare the winner of this election. It’s the voters’ place.”
Even an adviser to Trump, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, criticised the President’s statement saying: “It’s a bad strategic decision. It’s a bad political decision.”
In his address on Wednesday morning, Trump said: “We were getting ready for a big celebration. We were winning everything. And all of a sudden it was just called off.”
It was not clear who the target of his accusation was as officials were still in the process of counting votes in most states, even though the media had declared winners in some based on the number of votes tallied compared to those still pending.
Earlier, Biden virtually declared victory, claiming: “We’re gonna win this.”
He told supporters: “I’m here to tell you tonight we believe we’re on track to win this election. I’m optimistic about this outcome.
“It ain’t over until every vote is counted, until every ballot is counted.”
Meanwhile, Trump said: “Millions and millions of people voted for us (but) a very sad group of people is trying to disenfranchise that group of people.”
He claimed that he had won in North Carolina, Georgia and Pennsylvania even though the counting was still taking place.
But he had won two important states, Florida and Texas.
At 3 a.m., NBC and CBS projected Biden winning 220 electoral college votes to Trump’s 213, while the counting was still going on.
To win, 270 votes are needed.
The US presidential election system is based on an electoral college made up of state representatives depending on the state’s populations and not on popular votes.
Because of this Trump wrested the presidency away from Hillary Clinton in 2016 even though he polled 2.87 million fewer votes than her.
Trump has been complaining about the postal votes that he alleged were subject to fraud and has wanted the votes received by election officials after the close of polling to be rejected.
The Supreme Court did not make a ruling on the Republican case against a Pennsylvania court permitting the counting of postal votes received three days after the close of polling.
Trump is now expected to appeal to the Supreme Court to stop the counting of the postal votes.
In an election process disrupted by the raging Covid-19 pandemic, already an estimated 97.6 million of about 152 million registered voters had cast their ballots by Sunday, 62.1 million by post and 35.5 million at in-person early voting polling sites, according to the US Elections Project.