Read the full interview below:
“We’re going to win Wisconsin,” he began. “Arizona — it’ll be down to 8,000 votes, and if we can do an audit of the millions of votes, we’ll find 8,000 votes easy. If we can do an audit, we’ll be in good shape there.”
“Georgia, we’re going to win,” he continued, “because now, we’re down to about 10,000, 11,000 votes, and we have hand-counting” — a reference to the coming recount. “Hand-counting is the best. To do a spin of the machine doesn’t mean anything. You pick up 10 votes. But when you hand-count — I think we’re going to win Georgia.” He’ll also win North Carolina, Trump joked, “unless they happen to find a lot of votes. I said, ‘When are they going to put in the new votes in North Carolina? When are they going to find a batch from Charlotte?'”
Then there are two more — Michigan and Pennsylvania. “The two big states,” Trump said, before allowing, “They’re all sort of big.” In those two, Trump is pinning his strategy on protesting the exclusion of his campaign’s observers during critical periods of vote-counting. “They wouldn’t let our poll watchers and observers watch or observe,” Trump said. “That’s a big thing. They should throw those votes out that went through during those periods of time when [Trump observers] weren’t there. We went to court, and the judge ordered [the observers] back, but that was after two days, and millions of votes could have gone through. Millions. And we’re down 50,000.”
It was definitely an optimistic scenario and one at odds with the current state of the race. Wisconsin has already been called for Joe Biden, who has a lead of 20,546 votes. Arizona has just been called for Biden, with a lead of 11,390 votes. Georgia has not been called yet and is headed for a recount, the hand recount that Trump wanted, with Biden leading by 14,057 votes. North Carolina, on the other hand, looks good for Trump. Although it has not yet been called, the president leads Biden by 73,244 votes.
Then, there are Michigan and Pennsylvania. Both have been called for Biden, who has a 148,382-vote lead over Trump in Michigan and a 54,273-vote lead over Trump in Pennsylvania. There is no way that many votes for Trump could appear, so the president’s hope is for the protests to work — so far, they haven’t — and also, in Pennsylvania, for a judicial victory over the state Supreme Court’s unilateral decision to extend the deadline in which mail-in votes could be received. That is a case Trump should definitely win — the state court completely ignored the legislature’s constitutional authority to make such decisions — but that does not mean it will make much difference in the vote totals.
Indeed, the picture looks bleak for the president. As he spoke on Thursday, GOP strategist Karl Rove, Hugh Hewitt, and this newsletter noted that it is impossible, or all but impossible, for him to come back in enough states to win the election. At one point in the conversation, the president seemed to consider and then quickly reject the idea of losing. “I’m a guy who realizes — five days ago, I thought, ‘Maybe,'” he said, pausing for just a second. “But, now I see evidence, and we have hundreds of affidavits,” referring to the testimonials included in his lawsuits.
Democrats and their allies in the press, of course, are demanding that Trump drop his legal challenges. They are nothing more than a “temper tantrum” by the president and Republicans, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Thursday. On the other hand, many in the GOP would prefer to let the process run its course. But one voice on the Left is also arguing that the litigation should go ahead.
“Americans should not worry about these suits,” wrote Jed Shugerman, a professor at Fordham Law School, in a Washington Post op-ed. “Indeed, we should welcome them.” Shugerman said he does not believe the various Trump suits have any merit and indeed thinks they will all be thrown out of court. That, he said, would highlight their shortcomings.
But then: “It is also a bad idea, as a general matter to object to election law litigation. In two years, or four years — and possibly in two months in Georgia — the shoe may be on the other foot. It would look hypocritical to condemn the very idea of challenging an election result now, only to turn around and do so in different (albeit more legitimate) circumstances.”
Whatever the case, Trump is forging ahead. When I asked him how quickly he might turn things around, he said, “I don’t know. It’s probably two weeks, three weeks.” He knows the situation. He has heard many people tell him it’s over and time to concede. But at the very least, it is important for his most devoted supporters to see him fighting to stay in office. And he closed with a good-natured warning for everyone who has told him there is no hope: “Never bet against me.”