Of the electoral college formalizing President-elect Joe Biden’s win, Trump said: “If they do, they made a mistake.”
Speaking after holding a teleconference with members of the armed forces overseas for the traditional presidential Thanksgiving message, Trump warned that “the Biden administration … wants to get rid of ‘America First,’” referring to his own approach to foreign relations. The president also touted increases in military spending pushed by his administration in the last four years, according to pool reports.
Trump’s remarks were a stark departure from public Thanksgiving messages delivered by previous presidents, as well as from Biden’s Thanksgiving message delivered earlier Thursday, where the president-elect stressed the need to heal the nation’s division.
Trump condemned his successor for moving forward with the presidential transfer of power, saying: “I don’t think it’s right he’s trying to pick a Cabinet.”
“Don’t let Biden take credit for the vaccine,” the president repeatedly stressed, while defending his administration’s much-criticized response to the coronavirus pandemic.
White House spokesman Judd Deere said Trump, who has kept a low profile since the election some three weeks ago, was expected to travel to Georgia next Saturday, Dec. 5.
The president continued to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the state’s election system, having previously claimed without evidence widespread fraud in the presidential election there. “I’m very worried about that,” Trump said. “You have a fraudulent system.”
“I think it’s very dangerous for the two people,” he said of David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, the Republican senators contesting the two runoff elections that could tip the balance of the Senate. He then baselessly called Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who has defended the state’s election process, an “enemy of the people.”
The vast majority of the Trump campaign’s election challenges in Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania have been thrown out of court.
Responding to a question if he would willingly leave the White House at the time of a formal handover, the president replied, “Certainly I will, and you know that.” Asked about declaring his candidacy for 2024, Trump said “this has a long way to go.”
The president began his remarks in the Diplomatic Room at 5 p.m., concluding at 5:45 p.m. Previously Thursday, the president golfed in Sterling, Va., and tweeted several further false claims about the integrity of the election. He’s scheduled to travel to Camp David on Friday afternoon.