Trumpism 🐘 Newsbites
Twitter did a better job than Facebook at reining in Trump's false election posts, misinformation experts say
  • When President Donald Trump started posting misinformation about the 2020 election, Twitter and Facebook's election integrity policies were put to the test.
  • Misinformation experts told Business Insider that Twitter did a better job of tackling the posts, mainly because it placed restrictions hindering other users from spreading Trump's claims.
  • Facebook's messages on Trump's posts were often more detailed, one expert said, but the platform's lack of sharing restrictions means "false information can still quickly spread."
  • Another expert said the platforms' obligation to respond to the president's tweets will mean they can no longer claim to be "neutral actors."

Eric Trump shared a fake QAnon-promoted video of a person claiming to burn 80 Trump ballots. It had been debunked by officials the day before.
  • Eric Trump, President Donald Trump's second-eldest son, shared a video on Twitter on Wednesday that purported to show an anonymous man burning 80 ballots cast for Trump.
  • The video, first posted by a QAnon conspiracy theory supporter, is a fake.
  • The version of the video Eric shared received more than a million views before the account hosting it was suspended by Twitter.
Eric, taking his father's lead, has aggressively spread disinformation about the election, falsely claiming that Democrats are attempting to "steal" and "rig" the election. On Wednesday, he traveled to Pennsylvania with other members of the president's inner circle and lied that his father had won Pennsylvania, even though the state continues to count hundreds of thousands of ballots.

The Trump campaign has sued to halt vote counting in Pennsylvania — a must-win battleground state for the president — as election officials continue to tabulate legally cast mail-in ballots.

Trump's propensity to spend the night in either the White House or a Trump property may have cost him Arizona, new report reveals
  • Fox News calling Arizona and its 11 electoral votes for Democratic nominee Joe Biden was a turning point for the mood in the White House, according to The New York Times.
  • Blame started to shift to President Donald Trump's hesitancy to sleep anywhere other than the White House or a Trump Organization property, according to reporters Maggie Haberman and Annie Karni.
  • Despite being urged by his former campaign manager Brad Parscale and RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel to campaign more in Arizona, Trump was reluctant "in part because he did not like traveling west and spending the night on the road," per The Times.
  • Trump could still win Arizona, but has a steep deficit to overcome in the remaining ballots to be counted.
Another issue for Trump in Arizona could end up being his repeated attacks on the late Sen. John McCain.

The Republican's wife, Cindy, endorsed Biden ahead of Election Day.

The same White House aides who said Trump didn't want to spend the night in Arizona "also tried and failed to get Mr. Trump to stop attacking an Arizona favorite son and war hero, Senator John McCain, a Republican whom the president has continued to criticize even after the senator's death two years ago," Haberman and Karni wrote.

Trump's messaging strategy has been blown to pieces as Biden comes within striking distance of the White House
  • As the Democratic nominee Joe Biden continues leading President Donald Trump in the 2020 election, Trump has grown increasingly frustrated and any messaging strategy he may have had has gone up in smoke.
  • Before Election Day, Trump insisted that the winner of the race be called on November 3 itself.
  • On election night, when no winner was called, Trump prematurely and falsely declared himself the winner and claimed there was "major fraud" in the election.
  • The next day, Trump went from declaring himself the winner to demanding that some states stop counting ballots — which he can't do — and insisting that others keep counting, which they were doing anyway.
  • On Twitter, he tweeted posts alleging widespread election and voter fraud; tried to unilaterally claim electoral college votes in states Biden won or that hadn't projected a winner; and reflected a fundamental misunderstanding of how the electoral process works.
  • Others in Trump's orbit said election officials shouldn't rush to declare a winner, a stark departure from the president's initial claim that the victor be called on election night.
  • On Thursday, Trump reiterated his demand to "STOP THE COUNT," apparently unaware of the fact that if officials actually stopped counting ballots when he wanted them to, Biden would win the election.

Trump accused of undermining US democracy by international elections watchdog
  • President Donald Trump's bid to discount millions of legitimate ballots is undermining trust in US democracy, international election observers said in a report.
  • "Baseless allegations of systematic deficiencies, notably by the incumbent president, including on election night, harm public trust in democratic institutions," concluded observers from the OSCE.
  • The monitors also singled out Trump's "discriminatory and pejorative statements" for criticism.
  • In a move unprecedented in recent US history, Trump questioned the authenticity of millions of ballots, and declared himself victor despite the result of the election being unclear.
His behavior has been likened by experts who spoke to Business Insider to that of despots usually condemned by the US for violating democratic norms.

Trump's demand to throw out ballots arriving after Election Day would break the law and disenfranchise military voters
  • President Donald Trump is demanding that votes received after election day not be counted, which would violate a number of laws and disenfranchise US troops.
  • Thousands of US military ballots are potentially still coming in, as some states accept these ballots days if not weeks after election day.
  • The outcome of the election is still up in the air as key battleground states continue to count votes, such as Georgia, where Trump's lead over his Democratic nominee Joe Biden is less than 20,000.
Trump, the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, tweeted in all caps Thursday morning that "ANY VOTE THAT CAME IN AFTER ELECTION DAY WILL NOT BE COUNTED!"

Not only would not counting these votes potentially disenfranchise thousands of military voters, but it would also break the law in a number of states.

... Absentee voting rights for US military personnel deployed overseas or in domestic locations away from home are guaranteed by the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act.

... Thousands of military ballots potentially still rolling in could have a significant impact in the presidential race, as well as some of the ongoing congressional races. But the president is determined to see that these votes go uncounted — even though if the counting of legal ballots stopped now, Biden would win the presidency.

On Election Day, Facebook wasn't labeling premature victory posts for individual US states, but now it is. Here's why — and the reason is slightly confusing
  • Facebook told the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday that it was not flagging posts prematurely declaring victory in individual states for the US presidential election.
  • It would only flag posts that applied to the overall election result, Facebook said.
  • But later the same day, it said it would start flagging posts prematurely declaring victory in individual states.
  • The labels on these posts remind users that votes are still being counted, and that the result in a state has not been projected.
  • Facebook told Business Insider Thursday that the change was triggered by Trump declaring a national victory. Before that point, Facebook's rules didn't apply to individual states — but after, they did, the company told Business Insider.

To Count or Not to Count: Trump Supporters Spout Conflicting Demands in Michigan, Arizona
Supporters of President Donald Trump gathered outside a ballot-processing facility in Detroit on Wednesday afternoon with a message for the workers inside: "Stop the count."

Just hours later, some 200 pro-Trump protesters, some of whom were armed, rallied outside the Maricopa County, Arizona, election office with an opposing message for the workers processing ballots: "Count the vote."

The dueling messages echo the contradictory strategy employed by the Trump campaign as election officials in key states work diligently to process mail-in ballots, which will determine the outcome of the presidential election.

Trump is proving himself to be the most anti-democratic president in modern US history
  • President Donald Trump has challenged America's democracy throughout his presidency, and he's taking this to new conspiratorial heights as votes are still being counted in the 2020 election.
  • Trump falsely declared victory in the 2020 election and called for votes to stop being counted. He also declared that votes arriving after Election Day "WILL NOT BE COUNTED," which is false; vote counting is also a process the president has no authority over.
  • When leaders in other countries have behaved the way Trump is right now, the Trump administration has condemned their behavior and called on them to step down.
No president in modern US history has exhibited more disdain for the democratic process or disseminated more disinformation during an election cycle that Donald Trump.

... Authoritarians claim victory in elections they haven't won and seek to exploit the powers of the state to stay in power, democratic leaders do not.

... What Trump is doing is akin to an NFL team that's losing in the Super Bowl calling for the game to stop with a quarter remaining while accusing their opponent of cheating when they've clearly just been outplayed. To put it another way, the president is throwing an electoral temper-tantrum because he's losing.

... The president has essentially suggested that any result that is not in his favor is fraudulent.

... The country, battered by a pandemic that's killed more than 234,000 Americans under Trump's watch, is seemingly more divided than it's been at almost any point since the Civil War. Trump is stoking the tension in dangerous ways, with potentially irrevocable consequences.

Trump's defense secretary reportedly has his resignation letter ready to go
  • Mark Esper, President Donald Trump's second permanent defense secretary, has his resignation letter ready to go, three defense officials told NBC News on Thursday.
  • Esper is also reportedly helping Congress prepare legislation to change the names of military installations that honor Confederate leaders.
  • An effort to rename the military bases would likely anger President Donald Trump, who has rejected such a move.
  • For months, there have been reports that Trump has soured on his defense secretary and has privately discussed firing him. There have also been reports that Esper has considered resigning.

Trump keeps saying he'll sue for voter fraud, but he hasn't made that case in any of the 5 lawsuits he's filed
  • President Donald Trump has repeatedly complained about voter fraud — which experts say is almost nonexistent — and says he'll litigate over it.
  • But in the five lawsuits he's brought over the election so far, zero of them contain any allegations of voter fraud.
  • Four of them are about the vote-counting process. The other one seeks to invalidate votes that came late in the mail in Pennsylvania.
In almost all of these lawsuits, the Trump campaign has asked courts to force the ballot-counting process to stop until their demands were met. Every judge has rejected those calls.

Trump insists he won the 2020 election and rants about 'phony polls' as he trails Biden in the race for the White House
  • President Donald Trump took to the White House podium on Thursday to air a grievance-filled rant insisting he won the 2020 election even though he trails the Democratic nominee Joe Biden in electoral votes and hundreds of thousands of outstanding ballots have not been processed.
  • He also complained about "phony polls" and "suppression polls" that he said were manipulated by "big media" to hurt Republicans, and repeated a lie that he had an early lead in some states before it "miraculously" got "whittled away in secret."
  • Trump's campaign has signaled its intent to contest the election results and mounted legal challenges in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Nevada, and Georgia, though some have already been tossed out.

YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook are scrambling to moderate posts from Trump surrogates threatening 'total war' and beheadings as the election comes down to Pennsylvania (FB, TWTR, GOOG, GOOGL)
  • YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook raced on Thursday to take action against tweets from Trump surrogates calling for violence over the election results in violation of the platforms' policies.
  • Twitter slapped a warning label on Donald Trump Jr.'s tweet calling for "total war" and suspended Steve Bannon's account for glorifying violence, while YouTube removed Bannon's video calling for the beheading of Dr. Anthony Fauci and FBI Director Christopher Wray.
  • The social media platforms have applied warning labels and restricted the reach of a slew of tweets this week for spreading election misinformation.
  • In some cases, the platforms' algorithms and moderation teams caught posts relatively quickly, while many others have been widely viewed in what has become a rapid-fire, massive game of cat-and-mouse between the platforms and conservatives seeking to undermine Americans' confidence in the election results.
Twitter applied a warning label to a tweet from Donald Trump Jr. that called for President Donald Trump to wage "total war" over the election results, made baseless claims about widespread election fraud, and called the US a "banana republic."

A Twitter spokesperson told Business Insider that Trump Jr.'s tweet violated its civic integrity policy by "making a potentially misleading claim about an election," and that it would "significantly restrict engagements on this Tweet" in line with that policy.

Twitter also banned the account of close Trump ally Steve Bannon for making violent threats. Twitter's policy states the company "will immediately and permanently suspend any account found to be posting violent threats."

"The @WarRoomPandemic account has been permanently suspended for violating the Twitter Rules, specifically our policy on the glorification of violence," a spokesperson told Business Insider.

YouTube also removed a video posted by Bannon that called for violence against Dr. Anthony Fauci and FBI Director Christopher Wray for disagreeing with President Trump, saying "I'd put their heads on pikes."

"We've removed this video for violating our policy against inciting violence. We will continue to be vigilant as we enforce our policies in the post-election period," YouTube spokesperson Alex Joseph told Business Insider.

'This is getting insane': Republicans break from Trump immediately after wild and false speech
  • Republican lawmakers on Thursday broke away from President Donald Trump's grievances and false claims about the 2020 US presidential election.
  • In a impromptu speech at the White House on Thursday afternoon, Trump made several allegations about the election based on little to no evidence. He also baselessly claimed that he had already won the election.
  • Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois said in a tweet that "this is getting insane" immediately after Trump's speech.
  • Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska, a state Trump easily carried in this election, said in a statement that "Americans voted in a peaceful election and there's not a winner until all the legally cast votes are counted."
"We want every vote counted, yes every legal vote (of course)," Kinzinger tweeted. "But, if you have legit concerns about fraud present EVIDENCE and take it to court. STOP Spreading debunked misinformation."

While Kinzinger did not specifically mention the president, he has been outspoken with his disagreements in recent days. In a tweet on Election Day, he replied to Trump's baseless allegations that political forces were "trying to STEAL the Election" by casting votes after the polls were closed.

"Stop. Full stop. The votes will be counted and you will either win or lose," Kinzinger said in his reply. "And America will accept that. Patience is a virtue."

Legal problems galore await Donald Trump if he loses reelection and his presidential immunity
  • President Donald Trump could face criminal and civil investigations at both the federal and state levels for many years to come should he lose the White House, and the immunity from prosecution he's so far enjoyed.
  • New York state officials could prove to be Trump's biggest and longest-lasting headache, given that multiple investigations are already well underway.
  • "It would be safe to assume that the Trump campaign and its joint fundraising committees will be dealing with criminal and FEC investigations for years to come — beyond the four years Trump would have served if he had been reelected," said Brett Kappel, an election and government ethics attorney.
  • Joe Biden has been noncommittal on whether he would pursue federal charges against Trump using the evidence detailed in the Mueller Report.
But Trump could take perhaps the most dramatic step there is to avoid legal peril; he could try to issue a pardon to himself, or resign outright from the presidency during the lame-duck period and order his replacement Mike Pence to preemptively pardon him.

There's some precedent for such a move. President Gerald Ford sparked controversy in 1974 when he preemptively pardoned his predecessor Richard Nixon who had recently resigned from the White House in the aftermath of the Watergate scandal.

But such gambits wouldn't inoculate Trump and his closest allies from potential fines and even jail time from any state-level challenges where a presidential pardon has no effect.

Former Department of Justice and Federal Election Commission officials, as well as other legal scholars, tell Insider that Trump's post-presidency legal issues could last years.

CNN's Anderson Cooper describes Trump as 'an obese turtle on his back, flailing in the hot sun' after the president ranted about the election from the White House podium
  • CNN's Anderson Cooper didn't mince words when he reacted to President Donald Trump's grievance-filled speech from the White House podium Thursday evening.
  • "That is the president of the United States. That is the most powerful person in the world. We see him like an obese turtle on his back flailing in the hot sun, realizing his time is over," Cooper said.
  • Trump is currently trailing the Democratic nominee Joe Biden in the race for the White House; Biden has 253 electoral votes while Trump has 214.
"I don't think we've ever seen anything like this from the president of the United States," he said. "It's sad and it is truly pathetic. And of course it's dangerous and of course it will go to courts, but you'll notice the president did not have any evidence presented at all. Nothing. No real, actual evidence of any kind of fraud."

ABC, CBS, and NBC cut away from Trump's White House address riddled with unfounded accusations about the 2020 election
  • On Thursday night, President Donald Trump spoke from the White House to make an unfounded accusation that the presidential election was being stolen from him and to rant about polling.
  • ABC, CBS, and NBC all cut away from the broadcast to interrupt the president and correct him.
  • CNN and Fox News aired the entire speech, but CNN's chyrons fact-checked Trump while he spoke, and anchors on both networks pushed back on the comments once he was done.
... Trump had tried to commandeer the nation's airwaves at a time when the evening newscasts are shown on the East Coast, after a day when the slow drip of vote counting revealed his leads in Pennsylvania and Georgia dwindling.

... Anchor Jake Tapper looked weary when it was over.

"What a sad night for the United States of America to hear their president say that, to falsely accuse people of trying to steal the election, to try to attack democracy in that way with this feast of falsehoods," he said. "Lie after lie after lie. Pathetic."

Stephen Colbert broke down in tears and called Trump a fascist after the president's conspiracy-laden rant at the White House
  • The late night host Stephen Colbert broke down during Thursday's monologue over President Donald Trump's grievance-filled rant from the White House press briefing room hours earlier.
  • On Thursday evening as the Democratic nominee Joe Biden led him in the race for the White House, Trump told reporters he was cheated out of the election, complained about polls, falsely declared himself the winner, and suggested without evidence that widespread voter and election fraud took place.
  • "For him to cast a dark shadow on our most sacred right from the briefing room in the White House — our house, not his — that is devastating," said Colbert, tearing up.
  • He also called on Republicans to denounce the president's unfounded claims.
  • "You only survived this up until now because a lot of voters didn't want to believe everything that was obvious to so many of us, that Donald Trump is a fascist," he said, adding that the GOP needs to "get off the Trump train" because "it's not a passenger train, and he'll load you on it sometime, too."

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.