President Donald Trump waves to supporters from his motorcade as people gather for a march Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020, in…
President Donald Trump waves to supporters from his motorcade as people gather for a march, Nov. 14, 2020.

WASHINGTON - U.S. President Donald Trump for the first time Sunday appeared to acknowledge that Democrat Joe Biden “won” the presidential election nearly two weeks ago but then said he was not conceding. 

In a string of Twitter comments, Trump continued to make baseless claims that he lost because the vote was rigged against him. 

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden speaks to reporters about efforts to confront the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic after meeting with members of his "Transition COVID-19 Advisory Board" in Wilmington, Delaware, Nov.  9, 2020.
US Health Officials: Trump Hindering COVID-19 Care by Blocking Transition to Biden
Trump has refused to concede his defeat while he pursues long-shot legal claims that the November 3 vote was rigged against him

The Republican president has declined to formally concede the election to the former vice president even as all major U.S. news media organizations have said for a week that Biden amassed more than the necessary 270-majority in the 538-member Electoral College to win the presidency and be inaugurated on January 20. 

President-elect Joe Biden speaks Nov. 10, 2020, in Wilmington, Del.

In one of a string of Twitter comments, Trump said of Biden, “He won because the Election was Rigged.” 

Trump went on to make unfounded accusations about the election, saying, “NO VOTE WATCHERS OR OBSERVERS allowed, vote tabulated by a Radical Left privately owned company, Dominion, with a bad reputation & bum equipment that couldn’t even qualify for Texas (which I won by a lot!), the Fake & Silent Media, & more!” 

Twitter flagged Trump’s claims, saying, “This claim about election fraud is disputed.” 

About an hour later, Trump clarified his view of the election outcome, saying, “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!" 

 

Biden’s incoming White House chief of staff, Ron Klain, told NBC’s "Meet the Press," "Donald Trump's Twitter feed doesn't make Joe Biden president or not president. The American people did that." 

Election officials throughout the country have told VOA and other news organizations they have not uncovered any evidence of widespread fraud, only some small Election Day and vote-counting problems that would not reverse Biden’s victory and instead give Trump a second four-year term in the White House. 

While several legal disputes about the election remain to be heard in U.S. courts in several political battleground states, Trump already has lost numerous cases that alleged voting and vote-counting irregularities.

FILE - Republican canvas observer Ed White, center, and Democratic canvas observer Janne Kelhart watch as Lehigh County workers count ballots, in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Some of the disputes involved such small numbers of disputed ballots that even if Trump had prevailed, it would not have overturned Biden’s victories in individual states. 

Trump’s refusal to acknowledge Biden’s victory in the highly contentious election is unprecedented in modern U.S. politics, although there is no law saying he must concede. Losing U.S. presidential candidates for decades have offered their congratulations to the winners. 

While declining to formally concede, Trump has also blocked his administration’s officials and government agencies from cooperating with the president-elect's team on its transition to power or provide Biden with the President’s Daily Brief, a compendium of the U.S. intelligence community’s latest assessment of potential security threats from around the world. 

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the last standing challenger to Biden for the Democratic presidential nomination earlier this year, criticized Trump's post-election conduct. 

"Trump will have the distinction of doing more than any person in the history of this country in undermining American democracy,” Sanders told CNN.  “The idea that he continues to tell his supporters that the only reason he may have lost this election was because of fraud is an absolutely disgraceful, un-American thing to do." 

John Bolton, Trump's former national security adviser turned critic, called on Republicans to acknowledge Biden's victory. Some Republican colleagues of the president have described Biden as the president-elect while more have stayed silent on the election outcome or voiced support for Trump’s fraud claims and his lawsuits seeking to overturn Biden’s win. 

FILE - Former US National Security Advisor John Bolton talks to VOA, June 24, 2020.

"I think it's very important for leaders of the Republican Party to explain to our voters, who are not as stupid as the Democrats think, that in fact Trump has lost the election and his claims of election fraud are baseless," Bolton said on ABC's "This Week" program. 

Biden has been meeting with his advisers on forming a new government and considering possible nominees to his Cabinet. He and Kamala Harris, the vice president-elect, are holding meetings and deliver remarks on the economy Monday. 

FILE - Then-US Vice President Joe Biden is joined by Ebola Response Coordinator Ron Klain in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington, Nov. 13, 2014.

Last week, Biden named Klain to be his White House chief of staff, considered to be a key gatekeeper for advice and face-to-face meetings with U.S. presidents. 

What Happens Next?

What It Means to Become President-Elect in the US

In the United States, Democrat Joe Biden is being called the president-elect.

President-elect is a descriptive term not an official office. As such, Biden has no power in the government, and he would not until he is inaugurated at noon on January 20, 2021.

American news networks, which track all of the vote counting, determined on November 7 that Biden’s lead had become insurmountable in Pennsylvania, putting him over the 270 electoral votes needed to be president. Within minutes of determining his lead was mathematically assured, they projected him as the winner.

That is why news organizations, including VOA, are calling Biden the "projected winner."

Sometimes, in the case of particularly close elections, when news networks make this call, the other candidate does not concede victory. President Donald Trump has not done so, alleging voter fraud without substantial evidence and vowing to fight on. The president’s position has left Washington lawmakers divided, with Republicans backing a legal inquiry into allegations of vote fraud, even as they celebrate other congressional lawmakers who won their races.

When will the dispute be resolved?

The U.S. election won’t be officially certified for weeks. In the meantime, court challenges and state recounts could occur.

So far, the Trump administration has not provided evidence for any fraud that could overturn the result, but there is still time for more legal challenges.

Once states have certified the vote, pledged electors then cast their votes in the Electoral College in mid-December. Congress then certifies the overall Electoral College result in early January, about two weeks before Inauguration Day.