On Friday, November 13, President Donald Trump held his first public conference since Democratic candidate Joe Biden was officially projected winner of the 2020 presidential election. While he was sharing updates on Operation Warp Speed, Trump came close to admitting that the next administration may have a different approach to ridding the nation of the coronavirus.
“Ideally, we won’t go to a lockdown,” Trump said. “I won’t go into a lockdown. This administration will not be going into a lockdown. Hopefully, whatever happens in the future — who knows which administration it will be — I guess time will tell … lockdowns cost lives.”
Twitter quickly reacted to Trump’s comments. After a week of continuously pushing unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud and claiming that he is the rightful winner of 2020 presidential election, this was the first time the president has publicly floated the idea that he may not be commander in chief come 2021. As of Friday afternoon, Trump trailed Biden in the popular vote by over 5 million votes, according to NBC News.
While listening to Trump’s speech, one person tweeted, “So basically Trump is trying to set himself or a designated successor up for 2024 by claiming credit for vaccine success while blaming Biden for an anticipated shutdown under the next administration’s watch.”
PBS NewsHour reporter Yamiche Alcindor tweeted, “Pres Trump came super close to acknowledging that the Biden administration may be in power by the time the COVID vaccine is being distributed but didn’t quite get there. Now, he is standing hands clasped smiling as an official explains the process for distributing the vaccine.”
New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman also noted that Trump was very close to naming the Biden administration in his speech. She tweeted, “Trump in Rose Garden says ‘this administration’ won’t go to a ‘lockdown’ for the virus, then starts to say he hopes Biden won’t, catches himself and says ‘hopefully, whatever happens in the future,’ no one will.”
Hours Before Trump’s Press Conference, Biden Was Announced as the Projected Winner in Georgia
On Friday, hours before Trump gave his Rose Garden speech, the former vice president was announced as the projected winner in Georgia. This victory netted Biden another 16 electoral votes, bringing his total to 306, the same number of Electoral College votes Trump earned in 2016. Biden is the first Democratic nominee to win Georgia since Bill Clinton in 1992.
Trump also earned a few more Electoral College votes on Friday; he was the projected winner in North Carolina, bringing his final total Electoral College votes to 232.
Politico reporter Anita Kumar predicted that Trump would concede without admitting defeat. On November 7, Kumar wrote, “It’s a Trumpian way to lose. He can leave the White House without acknowledging he actually failed at anything, and even characterize himself as a winner who was targeted by the ‘deep state.'”
Biden Has Continued Moving Forward With His Transition Team Despite Trump’s Refusal to Concede
Three days earlier, Biden couldn’t help but laugh when a reporter asked him about Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s statement about planning a “smooth transition” to Trump’s second term.
On November 10, Biden was holding a press conference in defense of the Affordable Care Act, and while taking questions afterward, journalists persistently asked about his thoughts on Trump and his refusal to concede the election, which has put a hold on granting Biden’s team access to the $6.3 million set aside to kick-start the transition process.
There was extra fervor on the topic since Pompeo smiled and said earlier that day that Trump’s administration was preparing The White House for his reelection, despite the fact he has lost the presidency and has provided zero evidence of election fraud.
The president-elect refused to give “any of the assertions made by the president or Secretary of State Pompeo” credence and then started to laugh when thinking about Pompeo’s claims made during a State Department news conference on Tuesday.
Bob Bauer, an attorney for the Biden campaign, referred to Trump’s baseless claims of a rigged election as “a broader misinformation campaign.”
“All of this is intended to create a large cloud that is the hope of the Trump campaign that nobody can see through, but it is not a very thick cloud,” Bauer said. “It’s not hard to see what they’re doing — we see through it; so will the courts, and so will election officials.”
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