As Donald Trump’s path to re-election appeared to continued to narrow, the president made a speech brimming with baseless conspiracy theories about “illegal votes”, and unfounded claims that the election was being “stolen from him”, leading to networks to cut away from him on Thursday night.
Among others, NBC and MSNBC took the president off their airwaves, with the latter pivoting to anchor Brian Williams who underlined that “there are no illegal votes that we know of, there has been no Trump victory that we know of”, stressing how rare it is for a network to have to both interrupt and correct the president.
Fox News Channel and CNN showed the president’s full speech, after which CNN’s Anderson Cooper compared Mr Trump to “an obese turtle on his back, flailing in the hot sun realising his time was over”.
During the address, a CNN caption displayed under the president said, “Without any evidence, Trump says he’s being cheated”.
In the aftermath, anchor Jake Tapper condemned the president’s lies, saying: “What a sad night for the United States of America to hear their president say that, to falsely accuse people of trying to steal the election, to try to attack democracy in that way with this feast of falsehoods.
“Lie after lie after lie. Pathetic,” he added.
Here is the full transcript of Mr Trump’s speech, where he repeatedly makes baseless claims about fraudulent mail-in ballots.
“Thank you very much. Good evening.
“I’d like to provide the American people with an update on our efforts to protect the integrity of the very important 2020 election.
“If you count the legal votes, I easily win. If you count the illegal votes, they can try to steal the election from us. If you count the votes that came in late, we’re looking at them very strongly.
“A lot of votes came in late.
“I’ve already decisively won many critical states, including massive victories in Florida, Iowa, Indiana, Ohio, to name just a few, we won these and many other victories despite historic election interference by big media, big money and big tech.
“As everybody saw, we won by historic numbers. And they got it knowingly wrong. It’s so ridiculous and everybody knew it at the time.
“There was no blue wave that they predicted. They thought there was going to be a big blue wave. That was false, it was done for suppression reasons. Instead, there was a big red wave and it’s been properly acknowledged by the media.
“I think they were very impressed, but that was after the fact. That doesn’t do us any good.
“We kept the senate, despite having twice as many seats to defend as Democrats. And really, and much more competitive states, we did a fantastic job with the senate. I think we’re very proud of what’s happened there. We had many more seats to defend.
“They spent almost $2m on senate races in South Carolina and Kentucky alone, two races and hundreds of millions of dollars overall against us.
“On the national level our opponents and major donors were Wall Street bankers and special interests.
“Our major donors were police officers, farmers, and everyday citizens.
“Yet, for the first time ever, we lost zero races in the House.
“I was talking to Kevin McCarthy today. He said he couldn’t believe it. Zero races, very unusual thing – zero. And actually won many new seats, with I think many more on the way.
“This was also the year of the Republican woman. More Republican women were elected to congress than ever before. That’s a great achievement. I won the largest share of non-white voters of any Republican in 60 years, including historic numbers of Latino, African-American, Asian American, and Native American voters, the largest ever in our history.
“We grew our party by four million voters, the greatest turnout in Republican party history.
“Democrats are the party of the big donors, the big media, the big tech, it seems, and Republicans have become the party of the American worker, and that’s what happened. And we’re also, I believe, the party of inclusion.
“As everybody recognises, media polling was election interference in the truest sense of that word, by powerful special interests. These really phony polls – I have to call them phony polls, fake polls, we’re designed to keep our voters at home, create the illusion of momentum for Mr Biden and diminish Republicans’ ability to raise funds.
“They were what’s called suppression polls. Everyone knows that now. It’s never been used to the extent it’s been used in this last election.
“To highlight just a few examples, the day before the election, Quinnipiac, which was wrong on every occasion that I know of, had Joe Biden up by five points in Florida. And they were off by 8.4 points and I won Florida easily, easily. So they had me losing Florida by a lot and I ended up winning Florida by a lot. Other than that, they were very accurate.
“They had him up four points in Ohio, and they were up by 12.2 points. And they also won Ohio, the great state of Ohio, very easily. The Washington Post had Biden up 17 points in Wisconsin, and it was basically even. They were off by about 17 points. And they knew that. They were not stupid people. They knew that, suppression.
“There are now only a few states yet to be decided in the presidential race. The voting apparatus of this state are run, in all cases, by Democrats. We were winning in all the key locations by a lot, actually, and then our numbers started miraculously getting whittled away, in secret, and they wouldn’t allow, legally permissible observers.
“We went to court in a couple of instances and we were able to get the observers put in. And when the observers got there they wanted them 60, 70 feet away, 80 feet,100 feet away, or outside the building to observe people inside the building.
“And we won a case, a big case, and we have others happening.
“There is lots of litigation, even beyond our litigation. There is tremendous amount of litigation generally because of how unfair this process was. And I predicted that.
“I’ve been talking about mail-in voting for a long time. It’s really destroyed our system. It’s a corrupt system. And it makes people corrupt, even if we are not corrupt by nature, but they become corrupt. It’s too easy. They want to find out how many votes they need and then they seem to be able to find them. They wait and wait and then they find them and you see that on election night.
“We were ahead in North Carolina by a lot, tremendous number of votes. And we’re still ahead by a lot, but not as many because they’re finding ballots all of a sudden.
“It’s amazing how these mail-in ballots are all one-sided too. I know it’s supposed to be to the advantage of the Democrats. But in all cases, they’re so one-sided.
“We were up by 700,000 votes in Pennsylvania. I won Pennsylvania by a lot. And that gets whittled down to, I think they said, now we’re up by 90,000 votes.
“They will keep coming and coming and coming, they’ll find them all over, and they don’t want us to have observers, although we won a court case, judge said you have to have observers. And they’re appealing. Actually, they’re appealing. We won a case we want people to watch, we want observers, and they’re actually appealing. That’s sort of interesting. I wonder why they’d appealing. All we want to do is have people watch as they do the vote tabulations.
“Likewise in Georgia, I won by a lot, a lot, with a lead getting close to 300,000 votes on election night in Georgia – and by the way, got whittled down, and now it’s getting to be to a point where I’ll go from winning by a lot to perhaps being even being down a little bit.
“In Georgia, a pipe burst, in a far away location, totally unrelated to the location of what was happening, and they stopped counting for four hours and a lot of things happened. The election apparatus in Georgia is run by Democrats.
“We’ve also had margins of 300,000. Michigan, we were way up in Michigan, won the state. In Wisconsin, we did likewise, fantastically well. And that got whittled down. In every case, they got whittled down. We’re on track to win Arizona. We only need to carry 55 per cent of the remaining vote, 55 per cent margins, and that’s a margin that we’ve significantly exceeded, so we’ll see what happens with that, but we’re on track to do okay in Arizona.
“Our goal is to defend the integrity of the election. We will not allow the corruption to steal such an important election, or any election for that matter, and we can’t allow anybody to silence our voters and manufacture results.
“I’ve been doing a lot of public things for a long time. I’ve never had anything that’s been as inspirational by people calling, talking, sending things to us.
“I’ve never seen such love and such affection and such spirit as I’ve seen for this. People know what happening and they’ve seen what’s happening before their eyes.
“There are many instances, which will be reported very shortly. There is tremendous litigation going on. And this is a case where they are trying to steal an election. They are trying to rig an election. We can’t let that happen.
“Detroit and Philadelphia, known as two of the most corrupt political places anywhere in our country, easily, cannot be responsible for engineering the outcome of a presidential race. A very important presidential race.
“In Pennsylvania, Democrats have gone to the state supreme court to try to ban our election observers very strongly. We won the case, but they’re going forward. They don’t want anybody in there watching them as they count the ballots. And I can’t imagine why. There is no legitimate reason why they would not want to have people watching this process.
“Because if it’s straight, they should be proud of it. Instead, they are trying obviously to commit fraud. There’s no question about that.
“In Philadelphia, observers are kept far away, very far away. So far, that people are using binoculars to try and see.
“There’s been tremendous problems caused, paper on all of the windows so you can’t see in, and the people that are banned are very unhappy and have become somewhat violent.
“The 11th circuit ruled that in Georgia, the votes have been in by election day, that they should be in by election day, and they weren’t. Votes are coming in after election day. And they had a ruling already that you have to have the votes in by election day. To the best of my knowledge, votes should be in by election day. They didn’t do that.
“Democrat officials never believed they could win this election honestly. I really believe that. That’s why they did the mail-in ballots where there’s tremendous corruption and fraud going on. That’s why they mailed out tens of millions of unsolicited ballots without any verification measures whatsoever.
“And I told everybody that these things would happen. Because I’ve seen it happen.
“I’ve watched a lot of different elections before they decided to go with this big massive election with tens of millions of ballots going out to everybody, in many cases totally unsolicited.
“This was unprecedented in American history. This was by design despite years of claiming to care about election security.
“They refuse to include any requirement to verify signatures, identities, or even determine whether they are eligible or ineligible to vote. People are walking in, they have no idea. They are writing down things, the workers, doing a lot of bad things.We have a lot of information and litigation coming that you’ll see, will shake even you people up.
“The officials overseeing the counting in Pennsylvania and other key states are all part of a corrupt Democrat machine that you’ve written about for a long time. You’ve been writing about a corrupt democrat machine.
“I went to school there and I know a lot about it. It hasn’t changed. It’s gotten worse.
“In Pennsylvania, partisan democrats have allowed the ballots to be received three days after the election, and we think much more than that. And they are counting those without even postmarks or any identification whatsoever. So you don’t have postmarks, you don’t have identification.
“There have been a number of disturbing irregularities across the nation.
“Our campaign has been denied access to observe any counting in Detroit. Detroit is another place. And I wouldn’t say the best reputation for election integrity.
“Poll workers in Michigan were duplicating ballots. But when our observers attempted to challenge the activity, they jumped in front of the volunteers to block their view so they couldn’t see what they were doing. And it became a little bit dangerous.
“One major hub for counting ballots in Detroit covered up the windows with large pieces of cardboard. So they wanted to protect and block the counting areas, they didn’t want anybody seeing the observers, even though these were legal observers who were supposed to be there. In Detroit there were hours of unexplained delay in delivering many of the votes for counting, the final batch did not arrive until four in the morning, even thought he polls closed at 8 o’clock. So they brought it in. And the batches came in and nobody knew where they came from. We’ve also been denied access to observe in critical places in Georgia.
“In multiple swings states counting was halted for hours and hours on election night with results withheld from major Democrat-run locations only to appear later and they certainly appeared, and they all had the name Biden on them or just about all, I think almost all, which is a little strange.
“I challenge Joe and Democrat to clarify that they only want legal votes. I think they should use legal votes.
“We want every legal vote counted, and I want every legal vote counted. We want openness and transparency. No secret count rooms. No mystery ballots, no illegal votes being cast after election day.
“You have election day and the laws are very strong on that. You have an election day, you don’t want votes cast after election day. We want an honest election, we want an honest count. We want people working back there because it’s a very important job.
“That’s the way this country is going to win, that’s the way the United States will win.
“We think we will win the election very easily, there’s going to be a lot of litigation because we have so much evidence and so much proof, it’s going to end up perhaps in the highest court in the land, but we think there will be a lot of litigation because we can’t have an election stolen like this.
“I tell you, I’ve been talking about this for many months with all of you.
“I’ve said strongly that mail-in ballots are going to end up being a disaster, small very easy elections were disastrous.
“This is a large scale version and it’s getting worse and worse every day.
“We’re hearing stories that are absolute horror stories. And we can’t let that happen to the United States of America.
“It’s not a question of who wins, Republican, Democrats, Joe, myself.
“We can’t let that happen to our country.
“We can’t be disgraced by having something like this happen. So it will be hopefully cleared up, maybe soon. I hope soon. But it will probably go through a process, a legal process.
“As you know I’ve claimed certain states. He’s claiming states. So we can both claim the states.
“But ultimately, I have a feeling that the judges will have to rule.
“There have been a lot of shenanigans and we can’t stand for that in the country.”