WASHINGTON (AFP) — A defiant Donald Trump again falsely insisted he “won” reelection in his first public appearance for a week Friday, as the US president appeared increasingly isolated over his long-shot bid to stay in power.
Claiming against all odds that a path to victory remains viable, and facing pushback from fellow Republicans alarmed by his effort to overturn results, Trump invited Michigan lawmakers to the White House Friday as part of a bid to subvert the will of voters in key states.
In what has become a rare appearance before reporters 3 since November, the 74-year-old leader was announcing new pharmaceutical pricing plans when he diverted to the election.
“Big pharma ran million dollars of negative advertisements against me during the campaign — which I won, by the way, but you know, we’ll find that out,” Trump said.
He exited the briefing room without taking questions.
Logic dictates that Trump’s days in the White House are numbered, with key states that sealed President-elect Biden’s win rapidly approaching deadlines to certify their election results.
Georgia on Friday became the first of them to formally certify its results, affirming that Biden won in the southern state by 12,670 votes, or 0.26 percent, a bitter blow to Trump’s efforts to block the count.
“Numbers don’t lie,” said Brad Raffensperger, the Republican secretary of state in Georgia. “The numbers reflect the verdict of the people.”
Trump has been waging a last-ditch effort to throw out ballots in counties that voted heavily Democratic, force recounts and otherwise delay the process of finalizing state results before the Electoral College votes to confirm the next President on 14 December.
In the latest in a series of presidential interventions not seen in modern US politics, he had earlier insisted on Twitter that if Georgia let him “expose hundreds of thousands of illegal ballots,” it would give him “a BIG VICTORY” in the state.
The president spent most of the day hunkered down in the White House, fuming about the “Rigged Election” and retweeting conservative personalities –– including a QAnon conspiracy supporter –– arguing that his rival’s victory was fraudulent.
Retiring Senator Lamar Alexander became the latest Republican lawmaker seeking to nudge Trump into triggering a formal transition process.
Biden “has a very good chance” of becoming the next president, Alexander said, and should be afforded “all” resources necessary for a smooth transfer of power.
Despite Trump’s election denial, Biden is fully preparing to take over on 20 January.
On Friday — his 78th birthday — Biden huddled in Wilmington, Delaware with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, the top Democrats in Congress, telling them there is “a lot of work to do.”