Trump Just Went Full QAnon at the White House—and He Brought Charts

The president spent 45 minutes rattling off unfounded conspiracies about the election and voter fraud.
December 2, 2020, 10:09pm
Screenshot from President Trump's press conference at the White House on Wednesday, December 4, 2020.​
Screenshot from President Trump's press conference at the White House on Wednesday, December 4, 2020.

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President Trump posted a bonkers 46-minute tirade on Facebook Wednesday full of wild-eyed, nonsensical conspiracy theories about the 2020 election—the kind that members of QAnon have embraced. 

Trump repeatedly rehashed baseless accusations of fraud and pointed to large charts showing vote-count totals that he claimed, bizarrely, proved his point, when in fact they did nothing of the sort. He wrongly pointed to Republican victories in Congress as evidence that it should appear unlikely that Trump lost while they won. 

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“It is statistically impossible that the person, me, that led the charge, lost,” Trump said, even though that’s obviously not true.  

Trump delivered the bizarre speech to what appeared to be a mostly empty room in the White House, without inviting journalists, a day after his own attorney general said there was no evidence of the kind of widespread fraud that Trump has wrongly insisted cost him the 2020 election. 

“If we are right about the fraud, Joe Biden can’t be president,” Trump said.

Trump released the video a day after a top state official from Georgia begged him to stop spreading conspiracy theories about the 2020 election, pointing to death threats and explicitly warning that the simmering unrest could get someone killed. 

“It has all gone too far,” said Gabriel Sterling, an official working for Georgia’s Republican secretary of state.

Trump fired back on Twitter by directly dismissing Sterling’s complaints. But his speech on Wednesday appeared to raise the conspiracy theorizing to a new plane in both style and scope.

Trump tripled down on raising questions about the voting machine company Dominion Voting Systems, which QAnon believers have targeted for supposedly switching ballots from Biden to Trump. A Twitter campaign, orchestrated by a high-profile QAnon influencer, even led to death threats against a 20-year-old contractor for the company and a noose outside his home in Georgia Tuesday.

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“We have a company that’s very suspect. Its name is Dominion,” Trump said in his Wednesday tirade. “With the turn of a dial, or the change of a chip, you can push a button for Trump, and the vote goes to Biden. What kind of a system is this?”

There are plenty of reasons why that notion is nonsense, including an analysis by The Washington Post that showed even if every county in the United States that used Dominion Voting Systems were eliminated from the vote count, Biden still got more than Trump. The same analysis also found that swing-state counties that used Dominion systems mostly voted for Trump.

Trump was in no mood for that kind of detailed analysis on Wednesday afternoon, however. Instead, he brought his own data, with charts showing the specific times batches of ballots were counted. Trump suggested that ballots favoring Biden that were tallied early in the morning should be considered suspect.

The implication seemed to be that pro-Biden ballots were snuck into the counting rooms in the dark of night in large batches by nefarious Democrats seeking to blunt Trump’s edge in the count. There is no evidence this happened.

Pointing to one such spike on a ballot-counting chart, Trump remarked: “That batch was received in horror.” 

At least two people who knew Trump long before he became president, his niece Mary Trump and former private attorney Michael Cohen, recently told VICE News that Trump appears to have fooled himself into actually believing that he won. 

“He’s the only person I’ve ever met who can gaslight himself,” said Mary Trump, a clinical psychologist and critic of her uncle.