When I first glanced at his tweet this afternoon, with its vague title and unusual formality, and saw that he was standing at a podium with the presidential seal, I thought, “Is he about to take Mike Flynn’s advice and try to declare martial law?”
Then I hit play and heard him say “this may be the most important speech I’ve ever made” and thought, “Oh my God, he really is.”
He did not end up doing it and I feel sheepish now that I thought he might. Obviously he won’t declare martial law until after the electoral college affirms Biden’s win.
Watch the two-minute Twitter preview:
Statement by Donald J. Trump, The President of the United States
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 2, 2020
What does this mean?
“My opponent was told to stay away from the election. Don’t campaign. We don’t need you. We’ve got it. This election is done,” Trump said to the camera. “In fact, they were acting like they already knew what the outcome was going to be. They had it covered and perhaps they did, very sadly for our country. It was all very, very strange.”
Who’s the “we” who supposedly told Biden not to campaign? And when did Trump decide that Biden’s reluctance to leave his basement was evidence of a conspiracy to rig the election? For months he and the GOP insinuated that the reason Biden was afraid to appear in public was fear of revealing his deepening dementia to the world. Remember the mockery over him “calling a lid” at 9 a.m.? Remember all the videos the RNC posted to YouTube of Sleepy Joe seeming sleepy at times during campaign appearances? Trump is now retconning Biden’s low profile to suit his theories of voter fraud even though it doesn’t make sense on its own terms. If a candidate knew that the fix was in on Election Day, why wouldn’t he behave completely normally by continuing to campaign in order to create plausible deniability of knowledge of the plot?
The reason Biden didn’t campaign much was always simple. He wanted to make the election a referendum on Trump and, by staying out of sight, he did. He gambled that if he asked Americans to make an up-or-down choice on whether to give the president four more years, with the Democratic alternative all but completely removed from the calculus, more would vote down than up. And that’s what happened.
Here’s another quote from the longer video below that makes me wonder if he even understands how the Dominion machines work:
More Trump: "We have a company that is very suspect. It's name is Dominion. With a turn of a dial or the change of a chip you can press a button for Trump and the vote goes to Biden. What kind of a system is this. We have to go to paper." pic.twitter.com/GIMQuqXwNx
— Charlie Spiering (@charliespiering) December 2, 2020
Dominion’s machines *do* generate a paper ballot. I think he’s under the impression that their system is purely electronic so that all one need do is hack into them and start switching Trump votes to Biden votes in the database to alter the count. That’s not how it works. I myself voted on a system similar to Dominion’s and ended up with a paper product. First I checked in, where I was handed a blank paper ballot. Then I went to the voting machine and slid that ballot into the machine. I made my selections on a touchscreen, then hit “print.” The previously blank ballot came back out with my selections printed on it, which I then checked for accuracy. Finally, I went to a second machine and slid the paper ballot in, where it was scanned and stored. The result is that there’s an electronic record (via the scan) *and* a paper record of my vote and everyone else’s. When Georgia conducted its hand recount, the ballots it was counting were the paper ballots generated by the Dominion machines. They matched up almost exactly to the electronic records, proving that no one had tampered with the electronic data.
And because each voter’s presence was registered via the initial check-in, the state could compare the number of check-ins to the number of votes to make sure no one stuffed the ballot machine with paper ballots surreptitiously.
We’re almost a full month on from Election Day and the president seems not to understand how the machines at the center of his voter-fraud conspiracy theory actually operate. Why not? Is he also unaware of the fact that he won 81 percent of the counties that used Dominion voting machines in key swing states on November 3? That was actually slightly better than he did among counties that didn’t use Dominion. What a strange conspiracy.
Maybe this is what today’s address is really about?
The driver behind Trump's latest pardon talk is a fear he'll be prosecuted once he's out of office. In his recorded address, he says, "I hear that the same people who failed to get me in Washington have sent every piece of information to NY so that they can try to get me there."
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) December 2, 2020
Here’s the 46-minute version. Needless to say, it’s strange that his heretofore loyal Attorney General has been unable to substantiate any of the claims of systemic voter fraud that he lays out. Exit question via the Times: Why was this released today when it was recorded last week? Did his staff manage to talk him out of posting it initially?