Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Trump Goes Through With Lawsuits, Insists He Won Election


For his part, President Trump has yet to speak publicly since his loss in the presidential race was declared, and he's shown no signs of conceding. NPR White House correspondent Tamara Keith is with us now.

Good morning.


GARCIA-NAVARRO: So usually - right? - there's a concession speech before an acceptance speech.

KEITH: Usually, but it isn't required. And President Trump had made it clear that he had no intentions of conceding. He also hasn't spoken publicly since Thursday evening. There have been a few tweets in all caps complaining about the election. And there was a statement yesterday where he said that Biden was rushing to falsely pose as the winner, that the election is far from over, that legal votes decide who is president, not the media. The two times that we have seen him since late or very early on election night, he was - he came to the briefing room in the White House, and he was very angry. And then yesterday, we saw him out golfing.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yeah. I mean, to be clear, the media doesn't declare the winner. They just...

KEITH: That's true.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: ...You know, talk about the counts that they get from the local authorities and then make their calculations. So where does...

KEITH: The counts are against him, to be clear.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: To be clear. So where does his campaign go from here?

KEITH: You know, they have a hotline set up for people to dial in with claims of voting irregularities. And they are fundraising. There have been so many texts and emails asking for donations to fund this fight. But the fine print says that much of that money will go to retiring Trump campaign debt. They are filing a flurry of legal challenges. President Trump in a statement yesterday said that beginning Monday, the campaign will start prosecuting our case in court to ensure election laws are fully upheld, and the rightful winner is seated.

That said, they've already been filing many challenges, and many of them - most of them - have already been thrown out by judges. But there will be more to come.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: And what are the president's allies saying? - because Republican leadership has been notably silent on Joe Biden's victory.

KEITH: You know, I think that they have settled in on the idea that the president should go through the motions with all of these legal challenges and really let it play out, take it all the way to its logical conclusion. But also, there is a sense that it is sinking in, at least on some level.

I spoke with Stephen Moore, who is an economic adviser to the president. He said the fight continues; it isn't over - but that if the president does lose Arizona, which is a state that AP has already called but where the numbers are shifting as more ballots are counted - if he does, then the writing is on the wall, and his legacy will depend on finding a way to acknowledge that it's over. Laura Ingraham, the conservative talk show host who - and Fox News host who is close to the White House on her show on Friday went with the same idea - that once the challenges play out, for the sake of the movement that he created, President Trump needs to go gracefully.

I've also spoken to a number of grassroots supporters, people who, you know, volunteered for his campaign. And they want him to try every legal avenue. They don't want him to give up yet. They see him as a fighter, and he's their fighter. But they also do sense that the numbers are not in his favor. And one woman told me that she is praying and not giving up hope.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yeah, there's this sort of message from Republicans that people should allow the president to process this loss. You've covered the president for a long time now. How does he respond to defeat?

KEITH: He tends not to accept it. I'm thinking about the Affordable Care Act repeal and replace. He - that was a huge part of his early fight, his early effort as president. And that failed. But by now, he is saying, no, I didn't fail after all. You know, we eventually repealed the individual mandate. He finds a way to declare victory even when other people see defeat.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: NPR White House correspondent Tamara Keith, thank you very much.

KEITH: You're welcome.

(SOUNDBITE OF BONOBO'S "CIRRUS") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Tamara Keith has been a White House correspondent for NPR since 2014 and co-hosts the NPR Politics Podcast, the top political news podcast in America. Keith has chronicled the Trump administration from day one, putting this unorthodox presidency in context for NPR listeners, from early morning tweets to executive orders and investigations. She covered the final two years of the Obama presidency, and during the 2016 presidential campaign she was assigned to cover Hillary Clinton. In 2018, Keith was elected to serve on the board of the White House Correspondents' Association.
KUER is listener-supported public radio. Support this work by making a donation today.