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President Donald Trump walks on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington on Nov. 29, 2020, after stepping off Marine One. (AP/Semansky) President Donald Trump walks on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington on Nov. 29, 2020, after stepping off Marine One. (AP/Semansky)

President Donald Trump walks on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington on Nov. 29, 2020, after stepping off Marine One. (AP/Semansky)

Bill McCarthy
By Bill McCarthy November 30, 2020
Amy Sherman
By Amy Sherman November 30, 2020

If Your Time is short

  • Trump repeated his claims that the election was rigged and a fraud, although federal officials have called the election secure.

  • Judges have rejected the Trump campaign’s lawsuits alleging fraud and wrongdoing in the counting of ballots.

  • Trump continued his false attacks on voting by mail and suggested that ballot “dumps” changed the outcome. This ignores how election officials routinely tabulate votes.

President Donald Trump repeated his false claims that the election was "rigged" and characterized mail-in ballots as a "disaster" in an interview with Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo. Bartiromo allowed him to make his case without challenging him on his lack of proof.

"We won the election easily," Trump said Nov. 29 in an interview that aired over 45 minutes. "There's no way Joe Biden got 80 million votes." 

Trump lost the election to Biden, who received slightly more than 80 million votes and 306 electoral votes. There is zero evidence of widespread fraud or election rigging. 

In case after case nationwide, judges have rejected arguments by Trump’s legal team alleging fraud or wrongdoing in the counting of ballots.

"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.

Overall, Trump’s interview with Bartiromo was dominated by the same baseless claims Trump has clung to for weeks. Some of his statements were vague, while others were simply wrong. 

As Bartiromo didn’t fact-check his claims, PolitiFact will. We emailed spokespersons for the Trump campaign and did not get a reply.

"We have affidavits from many people talking about what went on with machines. They had glitches. …. we had glitches where they moved thousands of votes from my account to Biden's account."

Elections are not error-free and glitches can occur, but there is no proof that any were widespread and involved shifting thousands of votes from Trump to Biden. 

"There is no evidence whatsoever of any such ‘glitches’ that would shift votes from one candidate to another that would not have been trapped by an examination of the paper ballots of record," said Gregory Miller, co-founder of OSET Institute, a nonprofit that studies voting infrastructure. "Something like this, if possible would have been detectable."

One frequently shared claim about voting machine "glitches" stemmed from Antrim County, Mich. The day after the Nov. 3 election, the county appeared to have swung to Biden by about 3,000 votes. On Nov. 5, county officials changed their totals to show a win by President Donald Trump by about 2,500 votes. The Michigan secretary of state’s office reported on the incident and said it came down to human error by the county clerk, not a failure in the underlying system. The correct totals showed Biden won.

"And they did these massive dumps of votes. And, all of a sudden, I went from winning by a lot to losing by a little."

This is False. There are no nefarious or illegal "dumps" of votes. Leads in the vote count varied in the hours and days after the polls closed largely because of the normal but time-consuming process of tabulating mail-in votes. It wasn’t because Democrats or election officials were doing something improper.

The trend wasn’t a surprise. Officials warned for months before Election Day that one of the consequences of the heavy reliance on mail balloting during the pandemic would be that they take longer to count.

Many Democrats chose to vote by mail or through drop boxes, while many of Trump’s supporters decided to vote at the polls after Trump himself repeatedly discouraged voting by mail. Different states and counties have different rules for what ballots were tabulated first. 

"There are a lot of dead people that so-called voted in this election. But dead people were, in some cases, in many, many cases, thousands of cases, voted, but, also, dead people made application to vote."

Trump is wrong to suggest that thousands of dead people voted. Despite widespread claims that dead voters cast ballots including in Detroit and Wayne County, Michigan, none stack up. Similar claims during the primary season were baseless too.

The fact that dead people remain on voter rolls nationwide does not itself equal fraudulent voting — it’s only a crime if someone then fills out a ballot in the name of a dead voter and sends it in. 

"Joe Biden did not get 80 million votes."

Trump is wrong. Biden got slightly more than 80 million votes.

"They weren't allowed to have poll watchers."

This is Pants on Fire. Trump’s repeated claim that Republican election observers were barred from watching the ballot counting in major Democratic cities such as Philadelphia and Detroit has been contradicted by photo evidence, statements from local officials and Trump’s own campaign lawyers in court. 

"There were a lot of ballots where it was just Biden on top. … They say that I was doing so much better than they thought that they panicked, and they started just doing ballot after ballot very quickly and just checking the Biden name on top."

This is misleading. Trump is echoing a previous statement by former federal prosecutor Sidney Powell that at least "450,000 ballots in the key states that miraculously only have a mark for Joe Biden on them, and no other candidate." 

This omits the context that undervoting is a common practice where voters mark their choice for one race but skip making selections in other races. It occurs in every election.

"Importantly, roll off happens in both parties," said Barry C. Burden, University of Wisconsin-Madison political scientist. "Some Biden voters will have skipped down ballot races and so will some Trump voters."

We could not confirm Powell’s figure, but it does seem in line with the difference between the numbers of total votes cast in the presidential race and those cast in the down ballot House races in those states. We don’t see evidence that all of these votes were for Biden, however. 

"Joe Biden did not get 16 million more votes than Barack Hussein Obama. He didn't get it. Joe Biden did not get 14 million more votes than Hillary Clinton."

Trump is wrong. Biden received slightly more than 80 million votes. Obama received nearly 69.5 million votes in 2008 and about 65.9 million in 2012. Clinton got about 65.8 million in 2016.

Interest in this year’s election was extraordinarily high, and both sides did their best to turnout as many voters as they could. 

"The votes in Dominion, they say, are counted in foreign countries."

This is wrong, experts said. All ballots were counted in the U.S.

"All votes in the United States of America are counted in the United States of America. Period," said Christopher Krebs, the former Department of Homeland Security official leading the agency’s election security efforts. Krebs was fired after debunking Trump’s false fraud claims.

A Dominion spokesperson pointed to Krebs’s comments, which came in a recent interview with CBS’s "60 Minutes," and also to a company webpage devoted to debunking misinformation. The page says servers that run Dominion software are located in local election offices.

"Votes are not processed outside the United States," it says.

Dominion was founded in 2003 and has headquarters in Denver and Toronto. Its technology is used to administer elections in 28 states, including some states that went for Trump.

"There are many mailmen that are in big trouble right now for selling ballots, getting rid of ballots."

PolitiFact found no evidence to support Trump’s claim alleging fraud by "many mailmen." 

Trump may be repeating in broad terms a specific allegation he made in September related to a postal worker in West Virginia. As PolitiFact reported, the worker was charged for altering five absentee ballot requests, not ballots themselves. No money was involved.

News reports and Justice Department press releases have detailed some isolated incidents where postal workers were charged for throwing out or delaying the delivery of blank absentee ballots that elections offices mailed to voters. We found no evidence of anything widespread.

PolitiFact has debunked other allegations of malpractice by postal workers. One allegation, that the service failed to deliver 27% of South Florida ballots, received a Pants on Fire rating. 

The U.S. Postal Service did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

"Many ballots with the name Trump on (them) were thrown out … They found ballots in a river with the name Trump on from the military. They were signed, and they were floating in a river. They found ballots under rocks that had the name Trump on."

Trump is wrongly repeating misinformation PolitiFact and other fact-checkers have debunked. There is no evidence that ballots cast for Trump were thrown out — in a river or elsewhere.

In September, trays of mail were found in a ditch in Wisconsin. But there was no river involved, and a state election official said the mail did not include any Wisconsin ballots. Similarly inaccurate claims about thrown out or destroyed ballots include: 

  • The False claim that a video, retweeted by Donald Trump Jr., showed an election worker destroying Trump ballots. The video was created as a prank.

  • The False claim that ballots for Trump were discovered in a Georgia dumpster. They weren’t, according to the county’s Republican sheriff.

  • The False claim that thousands of military ballots were found in the trash in Wisconsin. State election officials called this claim inaccurate.

The vaccines "are going to be distributed in two weeks."

This is exaggerated. There will not be widespread vaccination in December.

Pfizer submitted an application to the Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization on Nov. 20, while Moderna announced on Nov. 30 that it plans to apply for authorization. Federal officials have set a goal of distributing an initial 40 million doses by the end of the year. The first doses will be distributed to key essential workers, such as those who work in hospitals. The vaccines require two doses, weeks apart.

Dr. Anthony Fauci told NPR on Nov. 17 that it will take months for the general public to get the vaccine.

"By the time you get to, let's say, the end of April, the beginning of May, June, July, as we get into the second quarter, it'll be much more likely that you'll have, quote, 'the general population' that's not on the priority list will be able to get vaccinated," he said.

Children may have to wait several months to get vaccinated because vaccine trials on children so far have been limited.

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Our Sources

Factba.se, "Maria Bartiromo Interviews Donald Trump on Fox News," Nov. 29, 2020

U.S. Election Atlas, "United States Presidential Election Results," accessed Nov. 30, 2020

Various Justice Department press releases, accessed Nov. 30, 2020

The Washington Post, "Trump lashes out as former top DHS official reasserts that election was ‘secure,'" Nov. 30, 2020

Dominion Voting Systems, "Setting the Record Straight: Facts & Rumors," Nov. 25, 2020

USA Today, "Fact check: Post about stolen – and returned – Arizona ballots lacks context," Nov. 11, 2020

The Associated Press, "Ex-postal worker charged with tossing absentee ballots," Oct. 27, 2020

The New York Times, "A New Jersey postal worker was arrested after he threw away nearly 100 blank ballots, prosecutors say," Oct. 7, 2020

The Associated Press, "W.Va. official refutes Trump claim about ballot fraud," Sept. 30, 2020

U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Opinion, Nov. 27, 2020

NPR, Former Georgia Gubernatorial Candidate On A Push For Voter Turnout, Nov. 2, 2020

New York Times, Presidential Election Results: Biden Wins, Nov. 30, 2020

Pfizer, Tweet, Nov. 20, 2020

Moderna, Tweet, Nov. 30, 2020

NPR, Fauci: Vaccine Results Are 'Important Advance,' But Virus Precautions Are Still Vital, Nov. 17, 2020

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

PolitiFact, Giuliani cites affidavit with crucial errors in press conference, Nov. 20, 2020

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

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

PolitiFact, Trump supporters falsely tie Nancy Pelosi to broader election misfire scheme, Nov. 9, 2020

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

PolitiFact, "Allegations of USPS election fraud in Michigan don’t hold up," Nov. 5, 2020

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

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

PolitiFact, "Trump whiffs describing Wisconsin ballot case," Oct. 9, 2020

Email interview, Gregory Miller, co-founder of OSET Institute, a nonprofit that studies voting infrastructure, Nov. 30, 2020

Email interview, J. Alex Halderman, Professor, Computer Science and Engineering Director, Center for Computer Security and Society, University of Michigan, Nov. 30, 2020

Email interview, Tina Jagerson, FBI spokesperson, Nov. 30, 2020

Email interview, Michael R. Fraser, CEO of Association of State and Territorial Health officials, Nov. 30, 2020

Email interview, Barry C. Burden, political science professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Nov. 30, 2020

Email interview, Kay Stimson, spokesperson for Dominion Voting Systems, Nov. 30, 2020

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More by Bill McCarthy

Fact-checking Trump’s whopper-laden interview with Maria Bartiromo