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40 days of denial and disinformation

President Trump
President TrumpTasos Katopodis/Photographer: Tasos Katopodis/Ge

Is it over yet? Almost. Maybe.

What a long, strange, unprecedented trip this has been. President Trump spent weeks before Election Day attacking mail-in voting and signaling he might not accept the results, but that didn’t fully prepare Americans for what he unleashed hours after the polls closed. With millions of votes uncounted and several states too close to call, Trump declared he had already won and that election officials were perpetrating a “fraud.” So began an extraordinary campaign of denial and disinformation by a sitting president as Trump has refused to concede to Joe Biden and tried just about everything possible to overturn Biden’s victory. Still, with no evidence of widespread voter fraud, states have certified their results and electors are set to meet Monday to cast their votes to make Biden the next president.

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These have been 40 days to remember, even if some of us long to forget.

Wednesday, Nov. 4

False victory declaration

With votes still being counted in a close race, President Trump appears at the White House about 2 a.m and declares he has won but Democrats are trying to steal the election. “This is a fraud on the American public,” he said in the televised address before a small gathering of supporters, offering no evidence. “To me this is a very sad moment and we will win this. And as far as I’m concerned, we already have won it.”

Trump tweet: We are up BIG, but they are trying to STEAL the Election. We will never let them do it. Votes cannot be cast after the Polls are closed!

Thursday, Nov. 5

Stop the count

Democrat Joe Biden has narrow leads in Nevada and Arizona, and is making up ground in Pennsylvania and Georgia as more votes are counted. Trump appears at an early evening news conference and talks of rigged public opinion polls and illegal votes, and, without evidence, alleges fraud in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Georgia. “We think there’s going to be a lot of litigation because we have so much evidence, so much proof,” he said. “And it’s going to end up, perhaps, at the highest court in the land.”

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Trump tweet: STOP THE COUNT!

Friday, Nov. 6

Legal action starts

As Biden takes the lead in Pennsylvania and Georgia, Trump and his allies float baseless conspiracy theories and begin legal moves. A federal court in Nevada denies a request by Republicans that could have delayed the counting there, while Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito agrees to a GOP request in Pennsylvania to keep separate mail-in ballots that arrived after Election Day, which officials there already were doing.

Trump tweet: I easily WIN the Presidency of the United States with LEGAL VOTES CAST. The OBSERVERS were not allowed, in any way, shape, or form, to do their job and therefore, votes accepted during this period must be determined to be ILLEGAL VOTES. U.S. Supreme Court should decide!

President Trump watches from the motorcade as he returns to the White House after playing golf on Nov. 7. (Alex Edelman/ AFP via Getty Images)
President Trump watches from the motorcade as he returns to the White House after playing golf on Nov. 7. (Alex Edelman/ AFP via Getty Images)ALEX EDELMAN/AFP via Getty Images

Saturday, Nov. 7

No concession

The Associated Press declares Biden the election winner after calling Pennsylvania for him. Trump is golfing at his Virginia course when the news breaks and his attorney, Rudy Giuliani, holds a news conference outside Four Seasons Total Landscaping in Philadelphia alleging the city has “a very long history of voter fraud.” Trump makes it clear he’s not conceding and accuses Biden of “rushing to falsely pose as the winner.” Returning from the golf course, Trump’s motorcade passes crowds of Biden supporters celebrating his victory outside the White House.

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Trump tweet: I WON THIS ELECTION, BY A LOT!

Sunday, Nov. 8

Republican silence

Trump plays golf again in Virginia and retweets a claim by former House speaker Newt Gingrich on Fox News that this was “a stolen election.” Although former president George W. Bush calls Biden to congratulate him, most Republican elected officials stay silent while Trump refuses to concede.

Trump tweet: Since when does the Lamestream Media call who our next president will be? We have all learned a lot in the last two weeks!

Monday, Nov. 9

Barr authorizes probes

Attorney General William Barr authorizes federal prosecutors around the country to pursue “substantial allegations” of voting irregularities if they exist and could affect the outcome of a federal election. Barr’s move leads to the resignation of the Justice Department official overseeing voter fraud investigations. Trump announces on Twitter that he has fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper.

Trump tweet: Georgia will be a big presidential win, as it was the night of the Election!

Tuesday, Nov. 10

‘A second Trump administration’

Concerns begin about the delayed presidential transition as the Trump appointee in charge of authorizing funding for it refuses to name Biden the apparent winner of the election. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asserts, “There will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration,” leading Trump to tweet: “That’s why Mike was number one in his class at West Point!”

Trump tweet: WATCH FOR MASSIVE BALLOT COUNTING ABUSE AND, JUST LIKE THE EARLY VACCINE, REMEMBER I TOLD YOU SO!

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President Trump participates in a Veterans Day wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., on Nov. 11. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
President Trump participates in a Veterans Day wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., on Nov. 11. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

Wednesday, Nov. 11

Wreath laying

Trump visits Arlington National Cemetery to commemorate Veteran’s Day, his first public appearance in a week. Georgia’s secretary of state, a Republican, announces a hand tally of the state’s election results, which shows Biden winning by about 14,000 votes, and says there’s no evidence of systemic ballot problems.

Trump tweet: Everyone is asking why the recent presidential polls were so inaccurate when it came to me. Because they are FAKE, just like much of the Lamestream Media!

Thursday, Nov. 12

Elections officials refute claims

After Trump tweets about a baseless report of 2.7 million votes being deleted, a group of federal, state, and local elections officials publicly contradicts him. In a statement distributed by the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, the group says the Nov. 3 election “was the most secure in American history” and there is “no evidence” that any voting systems were compromised.

Trump tweet: @FoxNews daytime ratings have completely collapsed. Weekend daytime even WORSE. Very sad to watch this happen, but they forgot what made them successful, what got them there. They forgot the Golden Goose. The biggest difference between the 2016 Election, and 2020, was @FoxNews!

President Trump arrives to the Rose Garden to discuss progress on a coronavirus vaccine, at the White House on Nov. 13. (Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times)
President Trump arrives to the Rose Garden to discuss progress on a coronavirus vaccine, at the White House on Nov. 13. (Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times)ANNA MONEYMAKER/NYT

Friday, Nov. 13

‘Time will tell’

Biden is declared the winner in Georgia, lifting his electoral vote total to 306 — the exact total Trump won with in 2016. Judges hand Trump’s legal team defeats in Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Michigan. Trump appears at a Rose Garden event to talk about coronavirus vaccines and for the first time indicates he might have lost the election, saying, “Whatever happens in the future, who knows which administration it will be? I guess time will tell.”

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Trump tweet: For years the Dems have been preaching how unsafe and rigged our elections have been. Now they are saying what a wonderful job the Trump Administration did in making 2020 the most secure election ever. Actually this is true, except for what the Democrats did. Rigged Election!

Saturday, Nov. 14

Trump supporters protest

On his way to play golf in Virginia, Trump and his motorcade drive by a crowd of supporters that runs to the thousands — nowhere near the million the White House claims — that had gathered in Washington to protest the election results. Trump posts 28 tweets or retweets, mostly alleging election fraud.

Trump tweet: Hundreds of thousands of people showing their support in D.C. They will not stand for a Rigged and Corrupt Election!

Sunday, Nov. 15

A hint of doubt

Trump appears to acknowledge his loss, saying in a morning tweet that Biden “won because the Election was rigged.” But about 90 minutes later, Trump backtracks. He tweets “WE WILL WIN” and later that “I concede NOTHING!” Meanwhile, his legal team narrowed a federal lawsuit in Pennsylvania, removing allegations that campaign observers were unlawfully blocked from watching vote counting.

Trump tweet: I WON THE ELECTION!

Monday, Nov. 16

Georgia official pressured

Georgia’s Republican secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, tells The Washington Post that Trump ally Senator Lindsey Graham suggested he find ways to toss out legally cast ballots. Graham denies he made the suggestion.

Trump tweet: The Radical Left Democrats, working with their partner, the Fake News Media, are trying to STEAL this Election. We won’t let them!

Tuesday, Nov. 17

Another firing

Trump fires Christopher Krebs, the director of the administration’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, declaring as “highly inaccurate” the recent statement released by the agency that the election “was the most secure in American history.” Republican officials in Wayne County, Mich., block certification of votes, then reverse their position after criticism.

Trump tweet: Flip Michigan back to TRUMP. Detroit, not surprisingly, has tremendous problems!

Wednesday, Nov. 18

Giuliani’s reversal

Giuliani makes his first federal court appearance in nearly three decades in a Trump election case in Pennsylvania. Despite initially alleging “widespread nationwide voter fraud,” Giuliani provides no evidence. and under questioning from the judge admits, “This is not a fraud case.”

Trump tweet: The Georgia recount is a joke and is being done UNDER PROTEST.

Thursday, Nov. 19

White House invitation

Trump calls Republican state legislators in Michigan and invites them to the White House as the state prepares to certify Biden’s victory there. Trump also reportedly asks aides if there are Republican officials he could contact in other battleground states he lost to Biden.

Trump tweet: Voter Fraud in Detroit is rampant, and has been for many years!

Friday, Nov. 20

Michigan GOP rebuke

Georgia certifies Biden’s win, the first closely contested state to do so. After meeting with Trump, Michigan’s top two Republican legislators say they won’t intervene in the state’s certification process. “The candidates who win the most votes win elections and Michigan’s electoral votes,” they say in a joint statement.

Trump tweet: We have great support on the Election Hoax!

President Trump golfs at Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virg., on Nov. 21. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
President Trump golfs at Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virg., on Nov. 21. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)Tasos Katopodis/Getty

Saturday, Nov. 21

Another legal loss

A federal judge in Pennsylvania dismisses a Trump campaign lawsuit alleging widespread improprieties with mail-in ballots. After golfing in Virginia, Trump tweets he will appeal. In Michigan, the heads of the national and state Republican parties jointly call for a delay in the state’s election certification.

Trump tweet: Hopefully the Courts and/or Legislatures will have the COURAGE to do what has to be done to maintain the integrity of our Elections, and the United States of America itself. THE WORLD IS WATCHING!!!

Sunday, Nov. 22

‘A national embarrassment’

As Trump golfs again in Virginia, more Republicans call on his administration to begin the transition to Biden. Former New Jersey governor Chris Christie calls the actions of Trump’s legal team “a national embarrassment,” and Representative Liz Cheney, the No. 3 House Republican, says Trump should “begin respecting the sanctity of our electoral process” if the legal losses continue.

Trump tweet: Other than politics, how do you lose a case where large numbers of voters, far more than you need to flip Pennsylvania, are disenfranchised?

Monday, Nov. 23

Transition starts

After Michigan certifies Biden’s win, the administrator of the General Services Administration designates him the apparent winner of the election and formally starts the presidential transition process. Trump tweets that he told officials to begin “initial protocols” for the transition but his legal effort to overturn the election results “STRONGLY continues.”

Trump tweet: What does GSA being allowed to preliminarily work with the Dems have to do with continuing to pursue our various cases on what will go down as the most corrupt election in American political history? We are moving full speed ahead. Will never concede to fake ballots & “Dominion”.

President Trump delivers the annual turkey pardon at the White House on Nov. 24. (Washington Post photo by Jabin Botsford)
President Trump delivers the annual turkey pardon at the White House on Nov. 24. (Washington Post photo by Jabin Botsford)Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post

Tuesday, Nov. 24

Turkey pardon

Trump makes a brief appearance in the White House briefing room to tout the Dow Jones industrial average topping 30,000, then participates in the annual pre-Thanksgiving turkey pardon in the Rose Garden. Despite Trump’s legal efforts, Pennsylvania certifies its election results.

Trump tweet: Remember, the GSA has been terrific, and Emily Murphy has done a great job, but the GSA does not determine who the next President of the United States will be.

Wednesday, Nov. 25

Trump phones in

Guiliani and Pennsylvania Republicans stage a grievance session at a hotel in Gettysburg, with Trump calling in via cellphone to claim, “This was an election that we won easily.”

Trump tweet: Rudy Giuliani is right now on @OANN!

Thursday, Nov. 26

‘A very hard thing’

Trump takes reporters’ questions for the first time since the election and acknowledges he would leave the White House if the Electoral College votes in Biden, but declines to say if he would also attend the inauguration. “It’s going to be a very hard thing to concede,” Trump says.

Trump tweet: Just saw the vote tabulations. There is NO WAY Biden got 80,000,000 votes!!! This was a 100% RIGGED ELECTION.

Friday, Nov. 27

Pennsylvania challenge rejected

Led by a Trump-appointed judge, a federal appellate court flatly rejects the Trump campaign’s challenge to Pennsylvania’s results, saying: “Calling an election unfair does not make it so.” Trump golfs at his Virginia course, then heads to Camp David, where some of his family has gathered for Thanksgiving.

Trump tweet: Biden can only enter the White House as President if he can prove that his ridiculous “80,000,000 votes” were not fraudulently or illegally obtained. When you see what happened in Detroit, Atlanta, Philadelphia & Milwaukee, massive voter fraud, he’s got a big unsolvable problem!

Saturday, Nov. 28

‘Massive proof’

Trump flies from Camp David to his Virginia golf course, then returns to Camp David. He tweets that his team has “massive proof” of election fraud in Pennsylvania and vows to appeal.

Trump tweet: The number of ballots that our Campaign is challenging in the Pennsylvania case is FAR LARGER than the 81,000 vote margin. It’s not even close. Fraud and illegality ARE a big part of the case. Documents being completed. We will appeal!

President Trump returns to the White House from Camp David on Nov. 29. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
President Trump returns to the White House from Camp David on Nov. 29. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)Tasos Katopodis/Getty

Sunday, Nov. 29

‘Total fraud’

Trump is interviewed on Fox Business and suggests the FBI and Justice Department might be “involved” in a conspiracy to rob him of reelection in a “total fraud.” “Missing in action. Can’t tell you where they are,” he says of officials in his own administration.

Trump tweet: NO WAY WE LOST THIS ELECTION!

Monday, Nov. 30

Georgia governor pressured

Arizona and Wisconsin certify Biden’s win in their states. Trump renews his call for Georgia’s Republican governor, Brian Kemp — whom he labels “hapless” — to overrule the secretary of state and conduct an audit of absentee ballot signatures. Such a move is barred by state law.

Trump tweet: I’m not fighting for me, I’m fighting for the 74,000,000 million people (not including the many Trump ballots that were “tossed”), a record for a sitting President, who voted for me!

Tuesday, Dec. 1

Barr: No widespread fraud

Barr massively undercuts Trump’s efforts to overturn the election results, declaring the Justice Department has not found evidence of widespread fraud. A top Georgia election official denounces threats against election workers and calls on Trump to “stop inspiring people to commit potential acts of violence.”

Trump tweet: Hope everybody is watching @OANN right now. Other media afraid to show. People are coming forward like never before. Large truck carrying hundreds of thousands of fraudulent (FAKE) ballots to a voting center? TERRIBLE - SAVE AMERICA!

Wednesday, Dec. 2

Video diatribe

Trump delivers a 46-minute diatribe against the election results in a rambling video released on social media. In what he called perhaps “the most important speech” of his presidency, Trump repeats many unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud. “This is not just about honoring the votes of 74 million Americans who voted for me,” Trump said. “It’s about ensuring that Americans can have faith in this election. And in all future elections.”

Trump tweet: Big voter fraud hearings today in the Great State of Michigan. This election is a far bigger scandal (FRAUD!) than anyone would have thought - not even close. Watch today!

Thursday, Dec. 3

No holds Barred

Trump fires back at Barr, complaining to reporters during an Oval Office event that the Justice Department hasn’t “looked very hard” for election fraud and refuses to say if he would fire the attorney general. Republicans lose legal appeals in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Trump tweet: People in Georgia got caught cold bringing in massive numbers of ballots and putting them in “voting” machines. Great job @BrianKempGA!

Friday, Dec. 4

More court losses

California certifies its results, officially pushing Biden past the 270-electoral-vote threshold. Former top Trump aide Kellyanne Conway appears to acknowledge Biden as president-elect while Trump’s post-election fund-raising haul surpasses $200 million. A Michigan court upholds earlier rejection of a Trump lawsuit asking for results to be tossed, while a federal judge in Wisconsin called the campaign’s request that he “remand” the presidential election to the state’s Republican Legislature “bizarre.”

Trump tweet: GET TOUGH REPUBLICANS!

President Trump speaks during a rally in Valdosta, Georgia, on Dec. 5. (Photo by Bloomberg)
President Trump speaks during a rally in Valdosta, Georgia, on Dec. 5. (Photo by Bloomberg)Bloomberg/Photographer: Bloomberg/Bloomber

Saturday, Dec. 5

Georgia on his mind

Trump directly asks Kemp to have local lawmakers overturn results and appoint Trump-voting electors. He holds his first rally since Election Day that night in Georgia, again attacking Kemp and the election results as he urges voters to support two Republican Senate candidates in the state’s Jan. 5 runoffs.

Trump tweet: We received more LEGAL votes by far. All I can do is run, campaign, and be a good (great!) President – it is 100% up to the states to manage the election. Republicans will NEVER forget this.

Sunday, Dec. 6

Giuliani has COVID

Giuliani is hospitalized after testing positive for COVID-19. The Michigan secretary of state discloses that armed Trump protesters surrounded her house the night before, while in Georgia, the Kemp administration shoots down Trump’s request to subvert the voting results.

Trump tweet: I WON THE ELECTION, BIG.

Monday, Dec. 7

‘Kraken’ goes down

Another recount in Georgia affirms Biden as winner of its 16 electoral votes. Republican legislators in Michigan and Arizona who met with Guiliani were forced to cancel sessions and quarantine after his coronavirus diagnosis. A judge in Georgia dismisses the so-called Kraken lawsuit filed by former Trump legal adviser Sidney Powell that alleged a wide-ranging conspiracy involving voting machines made by Dominion Voting Systems.

Trump tweet: The Republican Governor of Georgia refuses to do signature verification, which would give us an easy win. What’s wrong with this guy? What is he hiding?

Tuesday, Dec. 8

Supreme Court smackdown

Hours after Trump calls on the US Supreme Court to “have the courage” and intervene on his behalf, the justices without any dissents refuse to hear a Republican appeal of a Pennsylvania case. Trump’s campaign loses another appeal before Nevada’s Supreme Court. At day’s end, election results are certified in 49 states and the District of Columbia, meeting the crucial “safe harbor” deadline that limits subsequent legal and congressional challenges. Wisconsin is the only state to miss the deadline because of pending legal cases.

Trump tweet: They got caught because we were leading by so much more than they ever thought possible. Late night ballot “dumps” went crazy!

Wednesday, Dec. 9

State vs. state

President Trump and 17 state attorneys general join a Texas lawsuit filed with the Supreme Court seeking to throw out election results of four closely contested states: Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Trump tweets that the Texas suit is “the big one.”

Trump tweet: At 10:00 P.M. on Election Evening, we were at 97% win with the so-called “bookies”.

Thursday, Dec. 10

White House lunch

Trump holds a private lunch at the White House with several Republican state attorneys general, including Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who initiated the Supreme Court suit, and some others who joined it. Paxton is under federal indictment on securities fraud charges and reportedly being investigated by the FBI for bribery and misuse of office, leading to speculation he might be angling for a pardon. Attorneys general from more than 20 states file motions opposing the suit.

Trump tweet: The Supreme Court has a chance to save our Country from the greatest Election abuse in the history of the United States.

Friday, Dec. 11

The big dud

The Supreme Court rejects the Texas suit, saying the state lacked standing to bring the case. It was the second time in four days the court, which includes three justices nominated by Trump, refused to even hear a legal challenge to the election in what effectively is a unanimous rebuke of the president.

Trump tweet: The Supreme Court really let us down. No Wisdom, No Courage!

President Trump throws the coin in the air before the start of the 121st Army-Navy Football Game on Saturday in West Point, N.Y. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
President Trump throws the coin in the air before the start of the 121st Army-Navy Football Game on Saturday in West Point, N.Y. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)Andrew Harnik/Associated Press

Saturday, Dec. 12

‘Miscarriage of justice’

Trump goes on another Twitter tirade and travels to West Point, N.Y., to watch the Army-Navy football game. Trump supporters hold a “March for Trump” rally in Washington. The Trump campaign begins airing two ads, called “The Evidence is Overwhelming — FRAUD!” and “STOP THE STEAL!” on national cable TV that include disinformation and video clips of alleged fraud that have been widely debunked.

Trump tweet: This is a great and disgraceful miscarriage of justice. The people of the United States were cheated, and our Country disgraced. Never even given our day in Court!

Sunday, Dec. 13

Taking his case to Fox

Trump will appear on “Fox & Friends Weekend” the day before electors meet. The interview by co-host Brian Kilmeade, to be taped during Saturday’s Army-Navy game, will be only Trump’s second since the election -- both on Fox.

On Monday, Electoral College delegations in each state and the District of Columbia will meet to cast votes by paper ballots for president and vice president. The results will be sent to Washington and counted in a joint session of Congress on Jan. 6.