Trumpism 🐘 Newsbites
The Times Called Officials in Every State: No Evidence of Voter Fraud
The Times called officials in every state. None reported any major voting issues, a forceful rejection of President Trump’s narrative.

The president and his allies have baselessly claimed that rampant voter fraud stole victory from him. Election officials in dozens of states representing both political parties said that wasn’t the case. “There’s a great human capacity for inventing things that aren’t true about elections,” said Frank LaRose, above, a Republican and Ohio’s secretary of state.

What emerged in The Times’s reporting was how, beyond the president, Republicans in many states were engaged in a widespread effort to delegitimize the nation’s voting system.

... Indeed, Republicans in all three “blue wall” states have initiated “investigations” or called for audits — which is redundant given the certification work already underway. Democrats say this is simply a way to undermine confidence in the results.

... Voting fraud in the United States is extremely rare. The irregularities that do occur are often inconsequential, isolated in nature, and unlikely to alter the outcome of an election.

... Still, Mr. Trump has been fixated on voter fraud since 2016, when he falsely claimed that vote stealing had cost him the popular vote, which he lost by roughly 3 million. In the election’s aftermath, he formed a voting fraud commission that disbanded with no findings amid charges of secrecy, bias and overreach.

Mr. Trump’s attack on the election system this year has relied on either outright fabrication or gross exaggeration involving the sorts of small problems that typically come up in elections.

... The accusations of fraud from the president and his allies were noticeably absent from states where Mr. Trump and his fellow Republicans did well.

Trump’s Post-Election Tactics Put Him in Unsavory Company
Denying defeat, claiming fraud and using government machinery to reverse election results are the time-honored tools of dictators.

... There is little indication that Mr. Trump can overcome the laws and institutions that ensure the verdict of American voters will carry the day. The country has a free press, a strong and independent judiciary, election officials dedicated to an honest counting of the votes and a strong political opposition, none of which exists in Belarus or Russia.

Still, the United States has never before had to force an incumbent to concede a fair defeat at the polls. And merely by raising the possibility that he would have to be forced out of office, Mr. Trump has shattered the bedrock democratic tradition of a seamless transition.

The damage already done by Mr. Trump’s obduracy could be lasting. Ivan Krastev, an expert on East and Central Europe at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna, said Mr. Trump’s refusal to concede would “create a new model” for like-minded populists in Europe and elsewhere.

... Among the anti-democratic tactics Mr. Trump has adopted are some that were commonly employed by leaders like Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, NicolΓ‘s Maduro of Venezuela and Slobodan Milosevic of Serbia — refusing to concede defeat and hurling unfounded accusations of electoral fraud. The tactics also include undermining confidence in democratic institutions and the courts, attacking the press and vilifying opponents.

Like Mr. Trump, those leaders feared that accepting defeat would expose them to prosecution once they left office. Mr. Trump does not have to worry about being charged with war crimes and genocide, as Mr. Milosevic was, but he does face a tangle of legal problems.

... But by insisting he won a vote that results show he clearly lost, he has broken sharply with the norms of countries that view themselves as mature democracies.

“Trump’s behavior is without precedent among leaders in Western democracies,” said Serhii Plokhy, a Harvard historian who has studied former communist states like Ukraine. “Even in military dictatorships, the dictators more often than not honor the results of elections and they retire if they lose them.”

That the United States has fallen in with such bad company has stirred dismay and mockery among not only Mr. Trump’s political foes but also citizens of countries long accustomed to having leaders who overstay their welcome.

... “The argument of ‘moral superiority’ that the United States had,” he said, “without a doubt is affected by Trump’s behavior.”

After 4 days, Trump's advisors are increasingly convinced that their efforts to overturn Biden's election will fail, report says
  • Trump advisors have privately admitted that President Trump's prospects of winning a series of lawsuits and overturning the election result are slim, reported The Washington Post.
  • Trump has refused to admit defeat to Joe Biden and has claimed that the election is tainted by widespread fraud, while offering no evidence to substantiate the claim.
  • The Trump campaign has launched lawsuits in several swing states in a bid to overturn the election result, while Biden has called Trump's refusal to admit defeat an "embarrassment."
But sources told the Washington Post several of the president's aides who have most forcefully pushed his voter fraud claims are privately skeptical of the lawsuits' chances of success. They include White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, and informal adviser Corey Lewandowski.

According to the Post, they said that they are "concerned about the lawsuits' chances for success unless more evidence surfaces."

... Regardless of Trump's view of the election's outcome, and unless evidence of vast voter fraud emerges, Biden will assume Trump's presidential powers at midday on January 20.

The world is starting to ignore Trump
  • President Donald Trump is refusing to accept his loss to Joe Biden.
  • But the world is moving on. Many in the US and around the world are paying less attention to Trump since a second term slipped from his grasp.
  • The Biden transition team has forged ahead in the meantime, and Biden yesterday said that it doesn't matter whether Trump concedes.
Trump has refused to concede defeat, and the Republican party is backing groundless his allegations of mass voter fraud. But it is becoming clearer that the rest of the world is moving on. Here are some striking examples:
  • Trump is losing Fox News. The network has refused to uncritically circulate the president's claim that the election was stolen from him. On Monday, Fox cut away from White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany as she repeated baseless voter fraud allegations in a press briefing.
  • Despite Trump disputing the result of the election, world leaders have lined up to offer their congratulations to Biden.

    They include world leaders with whom Trump clashed, such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel. But also those who Trump praised in, notably UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, or allies like Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

    Their US policies will now be focused on the Biden administration to come.
  • Though Trump has blocked the formal transition process, Biden has continued to assert himself. The President-elect has appointed officials to key posts, and on Tuesday said that Trump's lack of cooperation won't slow him down.
  • Even some of Trump's aides have privately said his efforts to contest the election are hopeless. That said, many leading Republicans have supported Trump's baseless fraud claims, and refused to acknowledge Biden's win.
  • At the same time, social media platforms are becoming fiercer in blocking Trump's message. During the election, Twitter and Facebook both stepped up fact-checking of his posts, and have restricted their reach.
According to multiple reports, those close to Trump consider it unlikely that he will ever formally concede the election. But with his grip on power getting looser by the day, it matters less and less.

Boris Johnson calls Trump the 'previous president' after an 'extremely exciting' conversation with Joe Biden
  • Boris Johnson calls Donald Trump the "previous president" as he lavishes praise on Joe Biden, following his "extremely exciting" phone call with the President-elect.
  • The UK prime minister on Wednesday said it was "refreshing" to hear Biden defend global institutions.
  • A tweet sent by Johnson congratulating Biden for winning the election was revealed on Tuesday to contain elements of a previously-drafted message congratulating Trump instead.

Security officials say the US will be a 'crippled world power' until Biden takes over, and fear Trump will declassify intelligence that will help Putin
  • Three European security officials told Insider that their services fear that President Trump will rashly declassify intelligence materials in his last few months in office — an act that could reveal sources and methods of collection to Russia and other US adversaries.
  • Their comments came as The Washington Post reported that Trump has been demanding the release of classified intelligence that he believes will prove Russia did not help him in his 2016 campaign.
  • Such a release could put the methods and lives of sources working for the US and its allies at risk, the European officials warned.
  • One counterterrorism official told Insider: "It's clear that the US will continue to be a very distracted and even crippled world power until January," when President-elect Biden takes over.
  • The source warned that "bad actors" like Russia and China could cause trouble during this time.

Trump attacks Philadelphia's Republican City Commissioner for saying he's seen no evidence of election fraud
  • President Donald Trump on Tuesday railed against Philadelphia City Commissioner Al Schmidt for saying that there were no incidents of widespread voter fraud in the city in the 2020 presidential election.
  • For days, the president has peddled false claims that mail-in votes were manipulated and GOP officials were kept from properly monitoring election workers.
  • "If evidence of widespread fraud or evidence of any fraud at all is brought to our attention, we take a look at it and we refer it to law enforcement as we always do in every election," Schmidt said.
The commissioner's office has been receiving death threats since the vote counting process begun, something that Schmidt revealed this past Sunday on "60 Minutes."

"From the inside looking out, it all feels very deranged," he said on the CBS news program. "At the end of the day, we are counting eligible votes cast by voters. The controversy surrounding it is something I don't understand."

Pompeo hasn't recognized Biden as president-elect but is about to travel to 7 countries that have
  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is set to leave Friday for a 10-day trip to seven countries: France, Turkey, Georgia, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia.
  • Pompeo has followed President Donald Trump's example and has not recognized President-elect Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 election.
  • But the leaders in all of the seven countries Pompeo is poised to visit have congratulated Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on their victory in the 2020 election.

In the Trump campaign's latest election lawsuit, Republican poll watchers complain they couldn't stand within 6 feet of poll workers because of coronavirus guidelines
  • The Trump campaign announced a new, 342-page lawsuit on Tuesday night challenging the election process in Michigan.
  • The lawsuit doesn't make a single specific claim of voter fraud or electoral fraud, but says the state's votes shouldn't be certified anyway.
  • Much of the lawsuit is composed of affidavits from GOP election observers. More than a dozen of them complained they were told to stay more than six feet away from ballot counters because of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Justin Levitt, an elections expert, told Insider it wouldn't make sense to invalidate the election results based on the arguments in the lawsuit: "It would be like demanding that because I was impeded from checking to see whether a car were parked over the metered time, we should blow up the car."

Of course Trump is trying to burn it all down. What else did you expect?
  • President Trump's refusal to admit that he lost the 2020 election to President-elect Joe Biden has made things extremely stressful here in the United States.
  • But at least everyone is behaving exactly as expected.
  • Trump is in denial, and the GOP is talking loud, but the Trump campaign's legal challenges are thin.
  • This feels terrible because we're in it, and it may very well do longterm damage to our democracy, but no one can say we're being surprised here.
President Donald Trump is refusing to concede, just like we all knew he would. He's golfing and seething and tweeting that the election was "rigged." At the same time his public presidential schedule is empty, and even though coronavirus cases are hitting record levels, he has not addressed the public in about a week. He doesn't have the guts.

Naturally, the Trump administration is recalcitrant as well. It is refusing to help Biden's team with the transition. It is reshuffling the Department of Defense in a way that is disturbing the national security community. And — just to add some pettiness to all of this — it is threatening to fire anyone on the inside who starts looking for a job. Harrowing, but again, totally expected from these people.

... It's going to be wretched, but we all knew this was coming. No one around Trump has come to their senses, there are no heroes on the GOP's side, and while it's nice that First Lady Melania Trump is urging her husband to accept his loss let's be honest — she's been dying to leave the White House anyway. Everyone is behaving exactly as horribly as we expected they would. Let these appalling people be themselves, and keep your eye on January 20.

Trump campaign witness says it was 'odd' that US troops voted for Joe Biden in large numbers
  • President Donald Trump's 2020 reelection campaign on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against the state of Michigan claiming that the ballot handling and counting process had disenfranchised voters through "fraud and incompetence."
  • Attorneys for the campaign attached to their lawsuit dozens of notarized statements from Michigan voters, Republican poll watchers, and other observers to corroborate Trump's claims — including one who merely found it was peculiar that droves of US service members voted for Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
  • "I had always been told that military personnel tended to be more conservative, so this stuck out to me as the day went on," the observer said in his statement.
  • Recent polling shows US troops have a high disapproval rating for Trump and were split over which candidate they would vote for.

'Trump's not that person': Marine veteran and Gold Star widow says a president should understand what it means to serve and sacrifice
  • Marine veteran and Gold Star widow Kait Wyatt, whose husband Derek was killed in combat, told Insider Wednesday that it is important that the commander-in-chief of the armed forces understand military service and sacrifice.
  • She said that veterans "put their lives on the line and soak up the negativity that is in our world so that they can shield the people who need it the most."
  • Wyatt said that President Donald Trump has not demonstrated an understanding of that service while President-elect Joe Biden, a Blue Star family member, likely has a better grasp of what that means.

'A lot of potential danger': Trump is packing top Pentagon positions with loyalists, and people are worried because they don't know why
  • The Pentagon saw a string of high-level departures this week after President Trump said he "terminated" the defense secretary, and the administration filled a number of those voids with Trump loyalists.
  • Some in the Department of Defense and Congress expressed concerns about those drastic moves in the immediate aftermath of Trump's electoral defeat, with one lawmaker writing in a statement that post-election "chaos has now reached the Pentagon."
  • David Lapan, a former Department of Defense spokesman with decades of military service, told Insider that the moves do not make sense and that part of the "cause for alarm is not knowing why this is being done."
Top Pentagon leadership positions are being packed with Trump loyalists for reasons that are unclear and triggering mounting concern.

President Donald Trump fired Secretary of Defense Mark Esper on Monday, and the very next day, Chief of Staff to the Secretary of Defense Jen Stewart, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy James Anderson, and Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security Joseph Kernan resigned.

Chris Miller, formerly the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, replaced Esper. Anthony Tata, a former Fox News commentator who the Trump administration sidestepped Congress to slip into the Pentagon, replaced Anderson, and Kash Patel and Ezra Cohen-Watnick, both former members of the National Security Council considered loyal to the president, replaced Stewart and Kernan. And there is speculation that more defense officials may be on their way out and that this is just the beginning — even with only 70 days until the Biden administration takes over. Trump, however, has refused to acknowledge his defeat for five days and instead baselessly claimed election fraud.

The sudden flurry of departures sent shockwaves through the Department of Defense. A defense official told CNN that the situation was "unsettling," adding that "these are dictator moves." The Associated Press wrote that "unease was palpable inside" the Pentagon Tuesday.

... "I've been shot at a lot. I've been nearly killed a bunch of times. I'm not an alarmist. I try to stay cool under pressure. Mark me down as alarmed," retired four-star Gen. Barry McCaffrey said on MSNBC Wednesday. "We are watching the setup of people who are unqualified for office to be in control of the 2.1 million men and women of the armed forces."

Dave Lapan, a former Pentagon spokesman with decades of military service, told Insider that part of the "cause for alarm is not knowing why this is being done."

"You have an administration with very little credibility, little to none. The level of trust is very low, so people are naturally going to think the worst," he added. "And the administration isn't taking steps to reassure anyone about why they're taking these actions."

'For how long must Americans and Joe Biden wait for any evidence to be offered?': BBC presenter explains confusion in the UK over Trump's response to the election
  • BBC presenter Ros Atkins explained the confusion in the UK over President Donald Trump and top Republicans' reaction to the projected election results and unsubstantiated claims of mass voter fraud.
  • "By any measure, this is extraordinary," Atkins said in a video clip shared on Twitter. "The defeated candidates in US presidential elections almost always concede immediately once the winner is projected."
  • Atkins also questioned Republican leaders' accusations of voter fraud, asking, "for how long must Americans and Joe Biden wait for any evidence to be offered? It's been a week and still nothing."
  • Since President-elect Joe Biden was projected the winner of the election, Trump has refused to concede and made several false or unsubstantiated claims about mass voter fraud.

The Trump administration is reportedly withholding a stack of messages from foreign leaders to President-elect Joe Biden
  • The State Department has several messages for President-elect Joe Biden from other world leaders, but the Trump administration is preventing access to them as President Donald Trump refuses to acknowledge Biden's win in the 2020 election, CNN reported Wednesday.
  • Biden has independently been in contact with other foreign leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, since being projected as president-elect.
  • The State Department typically supports international relations for the president-elect, "which is why many countries began sending messages to State over the weekend," according to the CNN report.
  • The president and others in his circle, including State Secretary Mike Pompeo, have refused to acknowledge Biden as president-elect.
  • When asked about the election results and the transition of presidential power on Tuesday, Pompeo jokingly replied, "There will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration."

Trumpism
or Trump-ism

Trumpism refers to the nontraditional political philosophy and approach espoused by US President Donald Trump and his supporters. The term Trumpism can also be used to directly refer to an outrageous or idiosyncratic statement made by Donald Trump.

Trumpisms are Bushisms on steroids.