U.S. President Donald Trump appeared to acknowledge publicly for the first time on Sunday that Democrat Joe Biden won the Nov. 3 U.S. presidential election but asserted that it was "rigged", reiterating his false claims of widespread voting fraud.
"He won because the Election was Rigged," Trump wrote on Twitter on Sunday morning, not referring to Biden by name. "NO VOTE WATCHERS OR OBSERVERS allowed, vote tabulated by a Radical Left privately owned company, Dominion, with a bad reputation & bum equipment that couldn't even qualify for Texas (which I won by a lot!), the Fake & Silent Media, & more!"
#TrumpConceded quickly began trending on Twitter as reactions poured in from across the political spectrum.
Trump quickly followed that tweet with another, saying, "I concede NOTHING! We have a long way to go. This was a RIGGED ELECTION!"
CNN anchor Jake Tapper replied to Trump's original tweet, saying, "Everything after "He won" is a lie. But those first two words are accurate!" The Lincoln Project's Rick Wilson celebrated, writing, "Thank you for your concession, loser."
Biden defeated Trump by winning a series of battleground states that the Republican incumbent had won in 2016. The Democratic former vice president also won the national popular vote by more than 5.5 million votes, or 3.6 percentage points.
The U.K.'s Channel 4 News put together a montage of previous U.S. presidential candidates' concession speeches last week, which also went viral across social media. Channel 4 noted that "all of them pledged to put partisan divisions aside and work with the winner to unite the country," which stands in stark contrast to Trump.
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Trump's campaign has filed lawsuits seeking to overturn the results in multiple states, though without success, and legal experts say the litigation stands little chance of altering the outcome of the election.
Election officials of both parties have said there is no evidence of major irregularities. Democrats and other critics have accused Trump of trying to delegitimize Biden's victory and undermine public confidence in the American electoral process. Before the election, Trump had refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power.
Trump's refusal to concede did not change the fact that Biden was the president-elect, but it has stalled the government's normal process of preparing for a new presidential administration.