Donald Trump’s aides are increasingly gloomy – and mad at other GOP officials

David Jackson
 
| USA TODAY

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President Trump falsely claims he won the 2020 election

Falsely declaring victory while votes are still being counted, President Donald Trump threatened to ask the Supreme Court to halt the counting of legally cast absentee ballots, which he described as a “fraud.”

WASHINGTON – Some aides to President Donald Trump said they’re not giving up on the election, but they are also bracing for the worst.

They’re also upset with other Republicans who have not spoken out in support of the president’s complaints about ongoing vote counts in competitive states.

The election hinged on vote counts in only a few states: from Pennsylvania, to North Carolina, and Georgia and Nevada. A Biden win in his native Pennsylvania would seal the election and cap a lifetime dream for the former vice president and senator with more than 40 years in public office. Trump, meanwhile, trailing in the vote count or facing strong challenges in each state, lashed out Thursday, trying to cast doubt on the validity of the vote as he sought a second term in the White House.

The election hinged on vote counts in only a few states: from Pennsylvania, to North Carolina, and Georgia and Nevada. Trailing in the Electoral College contest, Trump has sought to cast doubt on the validity of the vote.

Trump planned to make public statement Thursday at 6:30 ET at the White House. The president who has been tweeting out complaints about the election – “STOP THE COUNT!” – has been out of the public eye since a speech at 2:30 a.m. Wednesday in which he falsely claimed he had won the election even as millions of votes were still being counted. He also made baseless claims about election fraud.

The Trump campaign has pursued a variety of lawsuits in the competitive states, urging a recount in one state and a halt to voting in other states – including one where he is losing.

Aides said they see a chance that ongoing vote counts could preserve Trump’s leads in Pennsylvania and Georgia, and fuel comebacks in Arizona and Nevada – but some also acknowledged that many of the remaining votes appear to be from areas that tilt heavily toward Joe Biden.

White House and campaign aides spent Thursday as they spent Wednesday, in hurry-up-and-wait mode.

Some advisers are also skeptical that the campaign’s lawsuits will do anything to change the vote count. They are also concerned that Pennsylvania will finish its count soon, and that networks will project a Biden victory in the state, essentially making him president-elect.

“We’re just watching,” one aide said.

Still, some aides said they believe Trump will pull this out, somehow.

On election night, as Tuesday turned to Wednesday, Trump campaign and White House officials expressed rising confidence as the president won the vote in Florida and built leads in Georgia, North Carolina and other states.

That confidence began to dissipate after Fox News, and then the Associated Press, called Arizona for Biden (a call the campaign still protests). The Trump team’s mood continued to sour as late counting gave Biden wins in Wisconsin and Michigan.

Aides, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters, also expressed frustration that more Republican officials have not spoken out against the counting, especially in the states still being contested.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, a Democrat, has held news conferences about events in his state, but not folks like Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey – both Republicans, another aides said.

“Where are Kemp and Ducey at?” the aide said.

Donald Trump, Jr., and his brother Eric have also protested the relative silence from prominent Republicans.

“Where is the GOP?!” tweeted Eric Trump. “Our voters will never forget…”

Trump himself has spoken to a variety of Republicans officials about the situation, including state governors, but few have voiced complaints about the election the way he has.

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