President Donald Trump reportedly rehearsed his plans to falsely claim victory on election night, with a new report revealing that he was aware he might lose but planned to take advantage of the potential confusion during ballot counting to assert himself as the winner.
Trump has come under fire for his insistence that he really won the presidential election but that it was stolen through widespread fraud, but Axios revealed that his victory claims could have been weeks or months in the making. The outlet revealed that he was aware of what political experts called a "red mirage," the perception on Nov. 3 that he might hold a wide lead due to the Election Day votes being counted first and the more Democratic-heavy mail-in votes being counted later.
"Trump intended to exploit this — to weaponize it for his vast base of followers," Axios noted.
"His preparations were deliberate, strategic and deeply cynical. Trump wanted Americans to believe a falsehood that there were two elections — a legitimate election composed of in-person voting, and a separate, fraudulent election involving bogus mail-in ballots for Democrats."The report noted that after a disastrous first debate when he was widely criticized for attacking Biden, Trump decided on a plan to declare himself the winner on November 3. He even shared the plans with others close to him.
"He started choreographing election night in earnest during the second week of October, as he recovered from COVID-19," the outlet reported.
"His former chief of staff Reince Priebus told a friend he was stunned when Trump called him around that time and acted out his script, including walking up to a podium and prematurely declaring victory on election night if it looked like he was ahead."
But Trump's plans were thrown into chaos when Fox News made an early call that Joe Biden had won in Arizona, putting him at a significant deficit and destroying the perception that he would win the race. The outlet noted that the president instructed top campaign members and White House staff to pepper Fox News executives and on-air anchors with calls and text messages calling on them to retract the call. The network stuck by its assertion, which was proven correct later as the state finalized voting totals.
There were reports even before Nov. 3 claiming that Trump was planning to falsely declare himself the winner of the race. As The Inquisitr reported in the days before Americans took to the polls, Axios claimed that he was preparing to set the plan into motion in the hours after polls closed and while states were still counting votes. At the time, Trump called it a "false report" but reiterated his opposition to mail-in voting, which he falsely claimed was ripe for fraud.