President Donald Trump was relatively quiet over the Thanksgiving holiday. But by Friday he was back to lighting up Twitter with a range of false claims about the 2020 presidential election. From Friday evening to Sunday evening, Trump tweeted and retweeted more than a dozen claims of election fraud, 14 of which were flagged by Twitter as disputed or misleading.
These various theories were all on display when Trump called into Fox News on Sunday morning. The conversation, which was Trump’s first one-on-one interview since losing his bid for reelection, contained a litany of false claims and conspiracy theories about the election to which Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo offered limited pushback.
Over the almost hour-long interview, Trump attacked Democrats, the system of mail-in voting and the cities of Detroit, Philadelphia and Milwaukee for supposed cheating and corruption. Even Trump’s former allies weren’t spared, as he criticized Georgia’s Republican Gov. Brian Kemp for not doing more to help advance his baseless claims of fraud. He then continued spreading doubt about the election results on Twitter.
Here are the facts behind Trump’s falsehood-filled weekend.
Trump insisted he won the election because his opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, could not have possibly received the number of votes currently attributed to him.
“We won the election easily,” Trump said. “There’s no way Joe Biden got 80 million votes.”
Facts First: Trump did not win the election according to projections from CNN and other major news networks, including Fox News.
Most news organizations declared Biden the victor more than three weeks ago, but Trump has refused to concede, blaming his loss on debunked theories of fraud in the 2020 election.
“This election was rigged,” Trump said at least three times in the interview, adding on two occasions that it was also “a total fraud.”
Facts First: Trump’s efforts to discredit the results of the election are not new. However, federal officials have said there was no widespread fraud or irregularities during the election.
In a statement issued the week after the election, a joint group of federal, state, local and private election officials, including some federal employees working in the Trump administration, called the 2020 election the most secure in American history.
Despite repeated denials of any wrongdoing from federal and state officials, Trump made it clear in the interview that he was unlikely to change his tune anytime soon. “My mind will not change in six months,” he told Bartiromo. “There was tremendous cheating.”
Control of Congress
Trump claimed the Republicans “didn’t lose one seat” in Congress and ultimately “we won Congress, we won the Senate.”
Facts First: It’s wrong for Trump to say the Republicans won Congress and didn’t lose one seat. Though the Republicans picked up 11 seats in the House, they lost three and are still in the minority with CNN projecting the Democrats will retain control of the House of Representatives. Control of the Senate has yet to be decided.
So far, Republicans have gained one seat in the Senate and lost two, putting them at 50 seats to the Democrats’ 48. However, Georgia’s two Senate seats are up for grabs in an upcoming runoff election that will ultimately determine which party controls the Senate.
In the interview, Trump claimed that foreign leaders had phoned him to declare the US presidential contest was the “most messed up election I’ve ever seen.”
Facts First: The White House has read-out zero foreign leader phone calls since the end of October. Furthermore, nearly every major US ally has congratulated Biden on his win.
According to Trump, the widely used voting machines from election technology company Dominion Voting Systems “had glitches where they moved thousands of votes from my account to Biden’s account.
Facts First: There is absolutely no evidence of this happening.
While there were a few isolated issues reported with Dominion technology on Election Day and election night, there have been no credible reports that any problems with the company’s machines affected vote counts.
Members of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency, which oversees US election security, stated: “There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised.”
Furthermore, experts have said Trump’s claim is not backed by the facts. Notably, most states use paper ballots that can be reviewed and recounted to double-check and validate the vote totals.
Citing Wisconsin as an example of corruption, Trump said, “I really won the state.”
Facts First: This is false.
Holding a lead before all of the votes are counted is, obviously, not the same as having won — and Trump has lost Wisconsin, according to CNN projections. This result remains unchanged after a recount requested by the Trump campaign in one of the state’s largest counties still showed Biden winning. Biden’s victory state-wide is expected to be confirmed when the Wisconsin Elections Commission certifies the state’s election results this week.
Trump also called into question the security of the Dominion systems by implying the way the votes are counted is suspicious.
“Nobody even knows where the votes are counted,” Trump said. “You know the votes and Dominion, they say, are counted in foreign countries.”
Facts First: The company has denied these allegations.
In a November 26 statement responding to the allegations initially levied by Powell, Dominion clarified that “Votes are not processed outside the United States. Votes are counted and reported by county and state election officials—not by Dominion, or any other election technology company.”
On “60 Minutes” Sunday evening Christopher Krebs, formerly the country’s top cybersecurity official who Trump fired shortly after Election Day, also pushed back on allegations of a corrupted election, saying, “There is no foreign power that is flipping votes.”
Trump’s attacks weren’t limited to the election. Asked by Bartiromo whether he would appoint a special counsel to look into the allegations of fraud, Trump took the opportunity to repeat falsehoods about the investigation led by former Special Counsel Robert Mueller whom he claimed spent $48 million and yet found nothing.
“They went through everything for 48 million,” Trump said, “and they found no collusion, no nothing.”
Facts First: This is untrue on two counts.
Mueller’s report said that the investigation did not establish that the Trump campaign “coordinated or conspired” with Russia’s election interference. However, the report did lay out a case that there was strong evidence Trump obstructed justice, on several occasions. The report also stated that if Mueller’s office “had confidence that the President clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so.”
Mueller ultimately decided not to make a decision on whether to charge Trump, for many reasons, including Department of Justice policy that a president “cannot be charged with a federal crime while he is in office. That is unconstitutional.”
In a tweet on Saturday, the President propagated a debunked theory that Pennsylvania received more mail ballots than were sent out and claimed “1,126,940 votes were created out of thin air.”
Facts First: Officials have refuted this claim.
A spokesperson from the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General told CNN, “This is another baseless allegation of fraud.”
“There is no proof,” the spokesperson said. “This did not happen.