USA President Donald Trump is testing how far he can go in using the trappings of presidential power to undermine confidence in this week’s election against Joe Biden, as the Democrat gained ground in tight contests in key battleground states — and then inched ahead in Georgia.
With his pathway to re-election appearing to shrink, Trump on Thursday advanced unsupported accusations of voter fraud to falsely argue that his rival was trying to seize power. It amounted to an extraordinary effort by a sitting American president to sow doubt about the democratic process.
“This is a case when they are trying to steal an election, they are trying to rig an election,” Trump said from the podium of the White House briefing room.
The Republican president’s remarks deepened a sense of anxiety in the U.S. as Americans enter their third full day after the election without knowing who would serve as president for the next four years. His statements also prompted a rebuke from some fellow Republicans, particularly those looking to steer the party in a different direction in a post- Trump era.
By Friday afternoon (CAT), neither candidate had reached the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the White House. But Biden eclipsed Trump in Wisconsin and Michigan, two crucial Midwestern battleground states, overtook the president in Georgia early Friday and was inching closer to doing the same in Pennsylvania, where votes were still be counted.
Fox News and EuroNews had shown that Biden had amassed 264 votes against Trump’s 214 while BBC News and CNN had given Biden 253 against Trump’s 213.
It was unclear when a national winner would be determined after a long, bitter campaign dominated by the Coronavirus and its effects on Americans and the national economy. The US on Wednesday set another record for daily confirmed cases as several states posted all-time highs. The pandemic has killed more than 233,000 people in the United States.
Biden spent Thursday trying to ease tensions and project a more traditional image of presidential leadership. After participating in a Coronavirus briefing, he declared that “each ballot must be counted.”—Associated Press