Trump emerges from hiding to accuse Dems of "cheating" in election

Though the 2020 election officially remains too close to call, President Trump made his first appearance in two days to claim that the Democrats had stolen it—perhaps the most telling condemnation yet of his own chances. Trump's claims were offered without specifics, evidence or energy in a rambling oration at the White House late Thursday.

"If you count the legal votes, I easily win," Trump said. "If you count the illegal votes, they can try and steal the election from us."

His remarks ranged over areas of grievance such as mail-in ballots, the media, fraud, counting only "legal" votes, and various other fabulations concerning the election and vote total. At one point he said he was "amazed" that mail-in ballots tallied so heavily in favor of rival Joe Biden, despite Trump having spent months exhorting his supporters to only vote in person. He concluded by boasting about attendance at his rallies.

"There's going to be a lot of litigation, because we have so much evidence, we have so much proof," Trump said. "We can't have an election stolen like this."

Minutes into the event, #TrumpMeltdown was the top trend on Twitter. As he walked off afterward, one reporter in attendance shouted the question, "are you a sore loser?" to no reply.

"The most powerful man in the world, and we see him like an obese turtle on its back, flailing in the hot sun," said CNN's Anderson Cooper afterward.

The presser came after Defense Secretary Mark Esper resigned and 2024 GOP hopeful Nikki Haley spoke in the past tense of Trump's administration, drawing the ire of Trump's closest supporters. His son, Donald Trump Jr., called for "total war" over the election.

Top Republicans, however, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Vice President Mike Pence, have so far avoided echoing Trump's false claims of widespread election fraud.