Addressing an election party in the East Wing of the White House early Wednesday morning, President Trump falsely and prematurely claimed victory in key swing states and pledged to go to the Supreme Court to stop votes from being counted.
Why it matters: As Axios previously reported, this was not spur of the moment.
- For weeks, Trump has discussed this scenario with advisers and even gamed out what he would say to declare victory on election night, even if networks had not called the battlegrounds for him, reports Axios' Jonathan Swan.
The state of play: Trump falsely claimed it was "clear" that he had won in North Carolina and Georgia, where the races remain too close to call as of his 2:30 am ET speech.
- He also pointed to vote counts in Michigan and Pennsylvania, where millions of mail-in ballots have not yet been tallied, to claim that he was winning in two swing states that are crucial in his path to the White House.
- The speech came after months of Trump's attempts to undermine the credibility of mail-in ballots, which he has baselessly claimed are conducive to widespread voter fraud.
What he said: "This 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 falsely claimed.
- "We want the law to be used in a proper manner. So we will 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 o'clock in the morning and add them to the list."