“Barring any major cases of voter fraud or something drastic, this is over, and it’s been over for a day. Most people are aware. Some folks are taking a bit longer to accept it,” said a senior Trump campaign official. “There are a lot of people just sitting and staring at their desks.”

“My sense is that we lost,” added a former Trump aide, who on election night and the days after thought the president would win. The former aide said he shared Trump’s belief that pandemic-driven voting rule changes had negatively impacted his bid for reelection, but said the president no longer has a viable path to victory.

“It’s an uphill battle,” this person said.

Trump’s dwindling circle of believers comes at a critical moment for the president’s legacy, which his allies fear could be permanently tarnished if he presses too long with a court battle that plunges the nation into political crisis and fails to yield his desired result. Only a small number of those in the president’s inner circle — namely former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and advisers Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie — have adamantly encouraged Trump not to concede.