On Sunday morning, Donald Trump tweeted about Joe Biden.
“He won,” he wrote.
But it was not the formal concession of the US presidential election which Trump has refused to give, despite every major media organisation calling the race for Biden with an electoral college result of 306-232 – coincidentally the same margin by which Trump beat Hillary Clinton in 2016, a result he insisted was a landslide.
Clinton beat Trump by nearly 3m in the popular vote. Biden is more than 5m up.
“He won because the election was rigged,” Trump wrote, before recycling a melange of the baseless claims of voter fraud he continues to push and which his lawyers are attempting to prove in court in battleground states – with little to no chance of success, according to most election observers.
According to practice, Twitter tagged the Trump tweet with a message: “This claim about election fraud is disputed.”
According to NBC News, an anonymous White House official said the tweet about how Biden won “may very well” represent the start of some sort of Trump concession.
But the president seemed to disagree, tweeting shortly afterwards: “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!”
Mainstream experts and analysts agree that it was not. The presidential result in Georgia is subject to a recount – which Trump on Sunday called a “scam” – but it is not expected to slip from Biden’s column and the Democrat will be inaugurated as the 46th president on 20 January.
But Trump’s refusal to concede is affecting Biden’s preparations, with transition funds unreleased and national security briefings not given.
From Wilmington, Delaware, the president-elect continues to consider cabinet appointments and legislative priorities and to issue appeals to the country to take seriously the spiralling coronavirus pandemic.
On Saturday, as Trump supporters gathered in Washington to back the president and reject Biden, Trump went to his golf club in Sterling, Virginia. On Sunday, he had no public events on his schedule.
From the White House, he issued volley after volley of tweets.