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46 minutes of falsehoods: Trump rehashes baseless election claims in White House video

President Donald Trump listens during a White House ceremony to present the Presidential Medal of Freedom to former football coach Lou Holtz on Dec. 3, 2020, in Washington. (AP/Vucci) President Donald Trump listens during a White House ceremony to present the Presidential Medal of Freedom to former football coach Lou Holtz on Dec. 3, 2020, in Washington. (AP/Vucci)

President Donald Trump listens during a White House ceremony to present the Presidential Medal of Freedom to former football coach Lou Holtz on Dec. 3, 2020, in Washington. (AP/Vucci)

Bill McCarthy
By Bill McCarthy December 3, 2020

If Your Time is short

  • President Donald Trump released a 46-minute video attacking the election results from a White House podium. It was riddled with false and unsubstantiated claims.

  • Former Vice President Joe Biden is the president-elect. He received more votes and electoral votes than Trump and will be inaugurated in January.

  • There remains no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the election.

He introduced it as what "may be the most important speech I’ve ever made." But the 46-minute video tirade President Donald Trump posted on social media was a recitation of the same baseless election fraud claims and conspiracy theories he has promoted for weeks.

The speech, delivered from a White House lectern, was posted to Trump’s Twitter and Facebook accounts Dec. 2. The release came one day after Attorney General William Barr joined experts, state and local election officials, and international observers in affirming that there is no evidence of the widespread voter fraud Trump has alleged.

The truth is that President-elect Joe Biden won the election, having received 306 electoral votes compared with 232 for Trump, and 7 million more votes. Key battleground states have already certified Biden as the winner, and Trump’s legal team has lost lawsuit after lawsuit in an effort to change that result. But Trump still refuses to concede defeat. 

"This election is about great voter fraud, fraud that has never been seen like this before," Trump said.

Trump’s most recent remarks were familiar for fact-checkers. They included many specific but unsubstantiated claims on mail-in ballots, voter irregularities, illegal votes, dead voters, election observers and election software.

Here, we’ll explain the recurring themes from Trump’s address, with links to specific fact-checks of claims he invoked.

The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

Claim: Trump is the rightful winner of the election.

This is wrong.

Biden received 306 electoral votes and earned nearly 7 million more popular votes than Trump. Major media outlets projected Biden as the winner on Nov. 7, when the data clearly showed that Trump had run out of ways to win. Key battleground states have since certified their results

Claim: The evidence of fraud is "overwhelming" with "millions of illegal votes."

This is wrong.

There remains no evidence of widespread fraud or millions of illegal votes. State and local election officials have disputed Trump’s claims of fraud, as have international observers and U.S. cybersecurity experts. The Trump legal team’s lawsuits alleging fraud in various swing states have been widely rejected by judges.

"Calling an election unfair does not make it so. Charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here," wrote Judge Stephanos Bibas, a Trump appointee, in an opinion in a Pennsylvania case before the 3rd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

Claim: The election was stolen from Trump.

This is wrong

No person or group stole the election from Trump. He lost, and Biden won. There is no evidence of widespread fraud that would alter the results.

Claim: The election and mail-in voting were "rigged."

When Trump said before the election that a rigged election would be the only way Democrats would win, we rated it Pants on Fire

A conspiracy to rig an election would require hundreds of thousands of people working together to commit felonies. It would be highly improbable. And there’s no evidence it happened.

Claim: Mail-in ballots were sent out by Democrats "with virtually no safeguards."

This is inaccurate

For starters, Republican election officials also mailed out ballots. And there were safeguards nationwide, including signature verification in states such as Nevada and Georgia.

Voter fraud is statistically rare, including for mail voting. Experts said the safeguards and verification processes are the same for mail and absentee ballots. Trump voted by mail.

Claim: Biden received fraudulent late-night vote dumps.

This is Pants on Fire.

One early-morning jump in Biden votes that Trump described in his address occurred Nov. 4 when Milwaukee, Wis., reported its absentee ballots all at once. The votes were legally cast before Election Day. They were not fraudulent.

Trump and his allies have made similarly false claims about "dumps of votes" favoring Biden in Michigan and other states. Those, too, are inaccurate.

Claim: There were ballot-counting irregularities in Pennsylvania. 

Trump’s claim that Republican election observers weren’t allowed to watch the ballot counting is Pants on Fire.

Election observers from both parties were allowed to observe the ballot counting process in the states where Trump has claimed Republicans were barred, including Pennsylvania. Trump’s claim has been contradicted by photo evidence, election officials and his own lawyers in court.

Philadelphia also streamed video of the process live online.

Trump also asserted that Democrats got special treatment in being able to correct issues with absentee ballots. But that is misleading, reported.

All Pennsylvania counties were instructed to notify political parties and update an online system when ballot errors were found. The goal was to allow those voters to cast provisional ballots.

Some counties notified voters, while others did not. 

Claim: Dominion Voting Systems is "suspect."

Trump’s attacks on Dominion Voting Systems are inaccurate and conspiratorial.

Dominion was founded in 2003 and has headquarters in Denver and Toronto. Its technology is used to administer elections in 28 states, including some that went for Trump. The company has set up a webpage to address the misinformation about it. Here’s what Trump got wrong:

  • Dominion does not allow votes to be "counted in foreign countries," as Trump wrongly claimed. Experts told PolitiFact all votes are counted in the U.S.

  • Trump said we don’t know who owns Dominion. That’s wrong. We do know that the company is majority-owned by a New York-based private equity firm.

  • Trump said Dominion machines are "suspect" and capable of flipping votes from Trump to Biden "with a turn of a dial, with a change of a chip." That’s Pants on Fire. Dominion machines were not created to change votes, and there’s no evidence they did. Trump cited one incident in a Michigan county that was actually the result of a human error.

Claim: Georgia’s recount had multiple problems. 

Trump’s claim that the Georgia recount "means nothing" without signature verification is Pants on Fire. It ignores that a recount can only be a recount of ballots that have already been verified. 

States separate ballots from their signed envelopes after verifying the signatures in order to protect the privacy of the vote. In Georgia, they’re verified twice.

Trump also repeated misleading claims that the recount found thousands of votes that were "out of whack." 

Election officials found more than 2,600 uncounted votes in Floyd County, Ga., most of which favored Trump. They were not proof of fraud, and the recount still certified Biden as the winner.

Claim: "No identification of any kind was required" to vote absentee in swing states.

This is wrong. State policies vary

"First, validation of the voter happens at the point of voter registration and in some states, like Georgia, election officials compare the signature on the application for a mail ballot to what’s on file and again when the ballot is returned," said Amber McReynolds, chief executive officer of the National Vote at Home Institute and a national expert on election administration. She said the signature verification process takes the place of the ID validation that would occur in person.

The states Trump singled out — Pennsylvania, Michigan, Nevada, Georgia and Arizona — sent ballots only to voters who requested them, or to voters who are active, McReynolds said.

Claim: There were "more votes than there were voters."

This is Pants on Fire.

In the swing states where Trump’s legal team has contested the results, there were far more registered voters than votes cast. And his team has provided no proof of double voting.

Claim: Many dead people voted.

This is wrong.

PolitiFact has debunked false claims alleging that dead voters cast ballots in Detroit and Wayne County, Mich. Similar claims that cropped up during the primary were also baseless.

The fact that dead people remain on voter rolls is not proof of voter fraud. It is a crime if someone fills out and submits a ballot in the name of a dead voter. Trump’s claim that dead people "filled out ballots," "made applications," "voted" and "went through a process" themselves is nonsensical, since those people are dead.

Claim: "Corrupt forces" were "stuffing ballot boxes" and committing other fraud.

Trump’s claim about ballot stuffing is unsubstantiated. 

The allegation resembles online misinformation, such as the Pants on Fire false claim that a video showed election workers in Flint, Mich., stuffing ballots. The video was shot in Russia. 

Trump also accused Detroit election workers of illegally duplicating ballots. That, too, is unsubstantiated.

In Michigan, voters who are in the military, overseas or have certain disabilities are emailed ballots that clerks have to replicate into the correct ballot format in order to be counted. They are only counted once. Michigan certified the election, making Biden the official winner of the state.

Amy Sherman contributed reporting to this fact-check.

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Our Sources

Donald J. Trump on Twitter and Facebook, Dec. 2, 2020

The New York Times, "Which States Have Certified Presidential Vote Totals," accessed Dec. 3, 2020

U.S. Election Atlas, "United States Presidential Election Results," accessed Dec. 3, 2020, "Voter ID Laws," accessed Dec. 3, 2020

Dominion Voting Systems, "Setting the Record Straight: Facts & Rumors," Dec. 2, 2020

The New York Times, "Trump, in Video From White House, Delivers a 46-Minute Diatribe on the ‘Rigged’ Election," Dec. 2, 2020

The Associated Press, "In video, Trump recycles unsubstantiated voter fraud claims," Dec. 2, 2020

The Associated Press, "Disputing Trump, Barr says no widespread election fraud," Dec. 1, 2020

The New York Times, "Over 30 Trump Campaign Lawsuits Have Failed. Some Rulings Are Scathing," Nov. 25, 2020, "Ballot ‘Curing’ in Pennsylvania," Nov. 13, 2020

Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, "Joint Statement from Elections Infrastructure Government Coordinating Council and the Election Infrastructure Sector Coordinating Executive Committees," Nov. 12, 2020

The Associated Press, "The Latest: International observers see no fraud in US vote," Nov. 9, 2020

Snopes, "Do Hundreds of Counties Have 1.8 Million ‘Ghost Voters’ in the US?" Nov. 6, 2020

NPR, "Trump, While Attacking Mail Voting, Casts Mail Ballot Again," Aug. 19, 2020

PolitiFact, "No, Hugo Chavez’s family does not own Dominion Voting Systems," Dec. 3, 2020

PolitiFact, "Fact-checking Rand Paul’s unsupported claim about fraud in the presidential election," Dec. 2, 2020

PolitiFact, "Trump's Pants on Fire claim about votes exceeding voters in swing states," Nov. 23, 2020

PolitiFact, "Fact-checking Trump’s whopper-laden interview with Maria Bartiromo," Nov. 30, 2020

PolitiFact, "Trump again flat wrong with claims about Wisconsin voter fraud," Nov. 20, 2020

PolitiFact, "Rudy Giuliani, Trump legal team push conspiracy theories, baseless claims about 2020 election," Nov. 20, 2020

PolitiFact, "Trump lawyer falsely claims voting technology companies were created for changing election results," Nov. 19, 2020

PolitiFact, "Fact-checking false claims about the 2020 election," Nov. 19, 2020

PolitiFact, "Donald Trump’s jab at Georgia recount ignores key voting principles," Nov. 18, 2020

PolitiFact, "Georgia officials found more than 2,600 uncounted ballots, but they’re not evidence of fraud," Nov. 18, 2020

PolitiFact, "Fact-checking Donald Trump’s tweet firing Christopher Krebs," Nov. 18, 2020

PolitiFact, "Ted Cruz falsely claims Philadelphia is counting votes in ‘shroud of darkness,'" Nov. 6, 2020

PolitiFact, "No evidence Dominion Voting Systems caused widespread tabulation errors that flipped votes for Biden," Nov. 13, 2020

PolitiFact, "How we know Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential race," Nov. 13, 2020

PolitiFact, "Trump’s wrong claim that election observers were barred in Pennsylvania, Michigan," Nov. 12, 2020

PolitiFact, "Trump’s tweet about 2.7 million deleted votes is baseless," Nov. 12, 2020

PolitiFact, "Donald Trump’s Pants on Fire claim about illegal votes," Nov. 6, 2020

PolitiFact, "List does not show over 14,000 dead people cast ballots in Michigan’s Wayne County," Nov. 6, 2020

PolitiFact, "Dead voters on Detroit’s voter rolls, including person born in 1823? That post is outdated," Nov. 5, 2020

PolitiFact, "Video of ‘ballot stuffing’ is not from a Flint, Mich., polling place. It’s from Russia," Nov. 5, 2020

PolitiFact, "Fact-checking Trump’s election fraud falsehoods in White House remarks," Nov. 5, 2020

PolitiFact, "No, President Trump, ‘ballot dumps’ in key states were not a magical surprise," Nov. 4, 2020

PolitiFact, "Trump falsely and prematurely claims 2020 presidential victory," Nov. 4, 2020

PolitiFact, "Trump’s cascade of falsehoods about voting by mail," Nov. 1, 2020

PolitiFact, "Donald Trump wrong that a winner has to be announced Election Night," Oct. 28, 2020

PolitiFact, "Donald Trump says Joe Biden can only win by a 'rigged election.' That's wrong in several ways," Aug. 24, 2020

PolitiFact, "Donald Trump Jr. distorts Michigan data on dead voters," Aug. 18, 2020

PolitiFact, "Trump Draws False Contrast Between Absentee, Mail-In Voting, Election Experts Say," July 30, 2020

PolitiFact, "What is ballot harvesting, and why is Trump tweeting about it during an election-year pandemic?" May 29, 2020

Email interview with Amber McReynolds, chief executive officer of the National Vote at Home Institute, Dec. 3, 2020

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46 minutes of falsehoods: Trump rehashes baseless election claims in White House video