President Trump broke a two-day silence with reporters to deliver a brief statement filled with lies about the election process as workers in a handful of states continue to tabulate vote tallies in the presidential race.
The president painted the election results so far as part of a broad conspiracy to deprive him of winning a second term by Democrats, election officials in various cities and the media.
“If you count the legal votes, I easily win,” Mr. Trump said shortly after he took the podium in the White House briefing room, a false statement that cast aspersion on the rest of the election. He offered no evidence.
He then listed a series of conspiracy theories about why ballots arrived late in places. And at the same time that he insisted Democrats were figuring out how many mail-in ballots they need in order to counteract his performance in various states, the president listed off a series of Republican wins on Tuesday. He appeared not to see the cognitive dissonance in saying that other Republicans won while he lost as he outlined a plot about others harming him, and left the room without taking reporters’ questions.
The three big broadcast networks — ABC, CBS and NBC — all cut away from President Trump’s appearance as the president’s false claims about the integrity of the election mounted.
Mr. Trump’s speech was timed to air during each of the network’s evening newscasts, which draw the biggest collective audience in TV news. But network anchors broke in after a few minutes to correct some of Mr. Trump’s false claims.
“We have to cut away here because the president has made a number of false allegations,” Lester Holt said on “NBC Nightly News.” On ABC, the anchor David Muir broke in and told viewers, “There’s a lot to unpack here and fact-check.”
Although CNN and Fox News continued carrying Mr. Trump’s remarks live, the decision by the other networks to break away deprived Mr. Trump of a significantly larger audience for his unfiltered — and un-fact-checked — views of the election.
MSNBC declined to air his remarks live at all. On Fox News, the White House correspondent John Roberts told viewers that “we haven’t seen any evidence” to back up Mr. Trump’s claims of electoral fraud. The anchor Bret Baier concurred, adding, “We have not seen the evidence yet, John.”