It seems the anonymous official quoted by NBC News as saying Trump’s tweet earlier might have been the start of a Trump concession … might not have checked with the boss. Here’s Trump:
“He only won in the eyes of the FAKE NEWS MEDIA. I concede NOTHING! We have a long way to go. This was a RIGGED ELECTION!
“RIGGED ELECTION. WE WILL WIN!”
Anthony Fauci, America’s top infectious diseases expert, says Donald Trump last attended a Covid-19 taskforce meeting “months ago”.
Fauci made the comments during an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday morning. He said it had been “months” since the president had attended the taskforce in person, but said the vice-president, Mike Pence, attended meetings and passed on information to Trump.
CNN host Jake Tapper asked how history would judge America’s response to Covid-19, and Fauci admitted “it’s not going to be a good report”. However, Fauci said the reasons the country has struggled so badly with the virus are “very complicated” because each of the US’s 50 states has had a different response and Americans’ “independent” spirit means blanket edicts can be hard to enforce.
A recent projection estimated there will be 439,000 deaths from Covid-19 by 1 March in the US. Fauci said that death toll is “possible” but “we don’t need to get to that number” if Americans stick to public health guidelines and if enough people agree to take the Covid-19 vaccine, which should become widely available in the coming months.
He said that while the vaccine represents a “light at the end of the tunnel”, local lockdowns are likely in the coming months in areas where the virus surges. Fauci added that a national lockdown is very unlikely. He added that if people agree to take the vaccine and stick to public health guidelines, the country may be able to start to return to a semblance of normality in the second or third quarter of 2021.
Tapper also asks him about Trump’s refusal to concede the election and work with the incoming Biden administration. Fauci says a smooth transition is important in the fight against Covid-19, and it would be helpful for the Covid taskforce to be able to start working with Joe Biden’s team now.
Is that Trump tweet this morning really a sign of an impending Trump concession? NBC News says maybe:
Barack Obama’s interview with CBS Sunday Morning will be broadcast today, before his interview with CBS 60 Minutes follows this evening. The 44th president has a book out, you see, and we’ve seen it. Reports here, and here.
The CBS interviews have been extensively trailed, of course. Here’s some of what Obama told Gayle King for Sunday Morning, about Donald Trump’s claim that the election he lost convincingly to Joe Biden was rigged against him:
“[Republicans] obviously didn’t think there was any fraud going on because they didn’t say anything about it for the first two days [after election day, as the count went on].
“But there’s damage to this because what happens is that the peaceful transfer of power, the notion that any of us who attain an elected office, whether it’s dogcatcher or president, are servants of the people. It’s a temporary job.”
[Presidents are] not above the rules. We’re not above the law, that’s the essence of our democracy.”
“When Donald Trump won, I stayed up until 2.30 in the morning and I then called Donald Trump to congratulate him. His margin of victory over Hillary Clinton wasn’t greater than Joe Biden’s margin over him.
“But if you are listening to some of the talk radio that Trump voters are listening to, if you’re watching Fox News, if you’re getting these tweets, those allegations are presented as facts. So you’ve got millions of people out there who think, ‘Oh yeah, there must be cheating because the president said so.’”
Amid Trump’s Fox News-centric Twitter blitz this morning, comes this:
The tweet is tagged with Twitter’s warning about disinformation regarding claims about supposed election fraud. It’s clearly not a concession – for one thing, Trump followed up by advising supporters to “watch Rudy Giuliani interview on Maria Bartiromo this morning at 10am. Doing a great job exposing the Rigged Election Hoax!”
What it is is evidence that Trump … does not always think before he tweets.
… and welcome to another day of coverage of US politics, the coronavirus outbreak in the US and the politics of the coronavirus outbreak in the US – which are, as ever, inter-twined and all-consuming.
On Saturday Trump supporters came to Washington, Trump left Washington, to play golf, and at the end of the day Johns Hopkins University had counted 166,000 or more new Covid cases countrywide.
Trump is refusing to concede defeat to Joe Biden, who won the electoral college by 306-232, as it happens the same result which when it went his way, over Hillary Clinton, Trump called a landslide. Trump’s legal efforts to scrap counts in key states are going nowhere, Biden will be inaugurated on 20 January, but Trump is stretching it out.
Welcome to the dark, damp farce of US politics in the fall of 2020.
Instead of working on his concession speech, or allowing for a proper transition of power, or even basic national security briefings for the new guy, or even working strenuously to contain those ballooning Covid numbers, Trump is holed up at the White House … doing this:
Attacking Fox News is Trump’s current thing. Fox News has pushed back, at least when it comes to questioning its ratings, if not when it comes to pushing out promo videos blaring Trump’s election conspiracy theories to the masses.
It seems almost beside the point out that Trump has not tagged the real Alfred E Neuman, meaning the differently spelled MAD magazine mascot, meaning not a real person at all, in his attempt to insult former South Bend mayor and Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg, a regular Fox News guest recently, and celebrated for it by liberals.
The user behind this account named for “Alfred E Newman” describes his or herself as a “lover of music, boxing and bike racing. Lifelong Leeds Utd fan. Occasionally confused and continually demented self opinionated tit”.
No further questions, your honour.
Much more of rather more weighty import to come. Here’s some further reading about Trump and Fox News: