U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday he will leave the White House if the Electoral College votes for President-elect Joe Biden.
It was the closest he has come to conceding the Nov. 3 election, even as he repeated his unfounded claims of massive voter fraud.
Trump told reporters during the Thanksgiving Holiday, that if Democrat Biden – who is due to be sworn in on Jan. 20 – is certified the election winner by the Electoral College, he will depart the White House.
But Trump said it would be hard for him to concede under the current circumstances and declined to say whether he would attend Biden’s inauguration.
“This election was a fraud,” Trump insisted in a sometimes rambling discourse at the White House, while continuing to offer no concrete evidence of widespread voting irregularities.
Biden won the election with 306 Electoral College votes – many more than the 270 required – to Trump’s 232.
The electors are scheduled to meet on Dec. 14 to formalize the outcome. Then on 6 January, 2021, Congress will ratify the result.
Biden also leads Trump by more than 6 million in the popular vote tally.
Trump has so far refused to fully acknowledge his defeat, though last week – with mounting pressure from his own Republican ranks – he agreed to let Biden’s transition process officially proceed.
Asked if he would leave the White House if the Electoral College votes for Biden, Trump said: “Certainly I will. Certainly I will. And you know that.”
“But I think that there will be a lot of things happening between now and the 20th of January. A lot of things,” he said.
“Massive fraud has been found. We’re like a third world country.”
Desperate efforts by Trump and his aides to overturn results in key states, either by lawsuits or by pressuring state legislators, have failed, and he is running out of options.
In the United States, a candidate becomes president by securing the most “electoral” votes rather than by winning a majority of the national popular vote.
Electors, allotted to the 50 states and the District of Columbia largely based on their population, are party loyalists who pledge to support the candidate who won the popular vote in their state.
In his remarks Thursday, Trump repeated a conspiracy theory pushed by members of his legal team that votes from Dominion Voting Systems machines lost votes for him or switched votes from him to Biden.
Dominion said there was no problem with their machines nor is there any evidence of what Trump alleges.
‘We’re using computer equipment that can be hacked,’ Trump said.
We’re like a third world country. We have machines that nobody knows what the hell they’re looking at. I mean you take a look at all the mistakes they made,’ he said.
‘This election was a fraud, just so you understand this election was a fraud,’ he said.
He said there was proof of what he was talking about on the internet.
If you look, just take a look anywhere on the internet. You will see many, many people where they’re experimenting with this stupid machinery. Wherever you send it a certain way the votes go from Trump to Biden,’ Trump said.
And he challenged Biden’s vote tally.
‘I know one thing Joe Biden did not get 80 million votes,’ he said. ‘The only way he got 80 million votes is through massive fraud.’
The current tally of the popular votes stand at: 80,045,066 (51%) for Biden and 73,897,658 (47%) for Trump. Additionally, Biden has 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232.