President Donald Trump made a series of egregious false claims in his Election Night address at the White House – falsely claiming he had already won re-election, that he had already won states that were actually still up in the air at the time, and that his opponents were perpetuating a fraud.
Here is a point-by-point breakdown.
Trump said, “Millions and millions of people voted for us tonight, and a very sad group of people is trying to disenfranchise that group of people. And we won’t stand for it.”
Facts First: This is false. While Trump didn’t identify the “very sad group of people,” his opponents and elections officials were not trying to “disenfranchise” – deprive of the right to vote – the Trump supporters who voted for him. Democratic leaders were simply calling for all of the votes to be counted.
Trump said, “We were getting ready for a big celebration, we were winning everything, and all of a sudden, it was just called off.”
Facts First: This is false; Trump was never “winning everything.” At the time Trump spoke, Trump and Biden were both projected by major media outlets to win multiple states, with several key states still too close to call. (Media calls are unofficial; official results come later, from governments around the country.)
Trump said, “We were getting ready to win this election. Frankly, we did win this election.”
Facts First: This is false, at least at the time Trump spoke. While Trump may well prove victorious once the votes are counted, neither he nor opponent Joe Biden had yet reached the 270 electoral votes necessary for a victory; prominent media outlets had not projected a winner in key states including Georgia, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan.
Trump said, “It’s also clear that we have won Georgia.” He added that, given his margin at the time, “They’re never gonna catch us. They can’t catch us.”
Facts First: We aren’t privy to Trump’s internal vote modeling, but it was not “clear” from the vote count at the time he spoke that he had won Georgia. With votes remaining to be counted from some strongly Democratic areas, it was still mathematically possible for Biden to catch him.
Trump said, “Most importantly, we’re winning Pennsylvania by a tremendous amount.” (It sounded like he may have added “of votes,” but he was drowned out by applause.)
Facts First: This was highly misleading. While Trump was leading in the Pennsylvania vote count at the time, the outcome in the state was entirely uncertain because there were hundreds of thousands of votes remaining to be counted from strongly Democratic areas, including Philadelphia.
Trump said, “we are winning Michigan,” then, moments later, said, “we won” Michigan.
Facts First: It was false that Trump had “won” Michigan at the time. Again, hundreds of thousands of votes remained to be counted in the state.
Trump said, “And all of a sudden, I said what happened to the election? It’s off. And we have all these announcers, saying, ‘What happened?’ And then they said, ‘Ohhh.’ Because you know what happened? They knew they couldn’t win, so they said, ‘Let’s go to court.’”
Facts First: This is false – though also so vague it’s hard to know exactly what Trump was saying. Nobody called off the election. Democrats did file various pre-election lawsuits related to voting rules, but so did Republicans.
Trump said, “This is a fraud on the American public.”
Facts First: This is false. There was no evidence of any significant fraud at the time he spoke. Counting the votes is not fraud.
Trump said, “We want the law to be used in a proper manner. So we’ll be going to the US 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, okay?”
Facts First: This is false. Voting had been over for hours at the time Trump spoke. What was still happening was the counting of votes – which always continues past Election Day.