President Donald Trump called in to address a Pennsylvania State Senate hearing in Gettysburg about the 2020 election on Wednesday. His speech came as something of a surprise since reporters announced that he had canceled plans to speak in Gettysburg in person. The hearing featured testimony after testimony of Trump-affiliated poll watchers who claim they were turned away from the polls, observers who cataloged hundreds of thousands of Biden votes that came in a spike, and state legislators who raised serious concerns about irregularities. Trump thanked them for their testimony and claimed he won the election.
“We won this election by a lot, we got 74 million votes,” President Trump insisted. “They have to turn over the results.”
The president recalled speaking to an ally about the litigation effort. “That’s a big statement for a judge to overthrow an election,” the ally noted, according to Trump. “I said, ‘Really? If [Joe Biden] got hundreds of thousands of votes more [through illegitimate means], why wouldn’t they overturn an election?’”
Trump alleged that Republican poll watchers were treated like dogs, claimed that “dead people were requesting ballots,” and noted that many people received multiple unrequested ballots at their homes.
The president also dismissed the idea that he should “worry about four years from now.” He insisted that that would be the wrong tactic. “This election was lost by the Democrats. They cheated. It was a fraudulent election.… Don’t be intimidated by these people.”
Yet the president’s legal team has struggled to make headway in the courts, despite their claims of having hundreds of affidavits testifying to irregularities and potential fraud. Judge Matthew Brann, a Republican Federalist Society member whom Barack Obama appointed in a compromise move, struck down — with prejudice — the Trump campaign’s lawsuit against Pennsylvania Secretary Kathy Boockvar this past weekend.
Even so, on Wednesday, a Pennsylvania state court blocked the certification of election results in the state pending a hearing on Friday.
The Trump campaign and its allies did indeed raise serious concerns about the election, although some of the claims are likely inflated. For instance, in some situations, officials turned away Republican poll watchers because too many of them showed up and not all of them were authorized to observe the count. Even so, speakers raised serious issues at the hearing.
Justin Kweder, a Republican poll observer, claimed that “the Philadelphia Board of Elections processed hundreds of thousands of mail-in ballots with zero civilian oversight and observation.” He claimed that officials used a fence to protect workers from observation at distances between ten feet and 200 feet.
“Due to the distance of the workers from the erected fences, it was impossible for me or any observer to see what the workers were doing with any type of specificity. The observers were not able to challenge any decision or determination being made about the processing of these mail-in ballots,” Kweder said.
GOP observer Justin Kweder: Hundreds of thousands of Philadelphia mail-in ballots were processed with ZERO civilian oversight pic.twitter.com/Op2UrGKDld
— Team Trump (@TeamTrump) November 25, 2020
Another poll watcher claimed that he presented his official certificate to observe the ballot-counting, and election workers claimed his certificate was “not good here.”
At one point in the hearing, the crowd audibly gasped as a legislator recounted spikes in votes for Biden as they were counted. He called the spike “a prime indicator of fraudulent voting.” Of 604,000 votes, roughly 570,000 went for Biden and only 3,200 went for Trump.
Pennsylvania State Rep. Mike Jones (R-York) spoke about the difference between voter registration changes and the vote margins in the official election results. He noted that Republicans had a 680,000-voter registration margin on Election Day in Pennsylvania, yet Trump lost by 90,000 votes. Jones admitted that such a result was “not impossible” but extremely fishy, nonetheless.
He noted that in York County, Republican voter registrations increased by 13,000 but Trump’s margin of victory in the county actually decreased from 2016.
“We’re not just making things up here that we don’t like,” Jones insisted.
There are indeed troubling stories and indicators about the 2020 election. The Federalist’s J.B. Shurk noted some very odd aspects of Biden’s victory. According to the preliminary results, Biden won 80 million votes — more than 15 million more than Obama received in 2012. He did this despite losing almost every bellwether county to Trump. He also underperformed Hillary Clinton’s 2016 totals in every urban county in the United States except the metropolitan areas of Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. Biden won despite Democrats losing in contested races for the U.S. House and state legislatures. Biden also defeated Trump despite the president’s historically huge margins in the GOP 2020 primaries.
There are serious and legitimate questions about the results of the 2020 election, and they deserve an in-depth investigation.
Unfortunately, the president is arguably undermining this effort. Rather than insisting that he “won” by a large margin, he should encourage caution and a serious explanation for the irregularities. He should not take his 74 million votes as gospel truth while challenging the election results. If some shenanigans did occur, chances are high that his vote totals might change, just as Biden’s might.
It would be wiser for Trump to raise serious issues and say he will gladly concede but only if his concerns are fully addressed. He has every right to fight, and there seem to be some irregularities he really should investigate. But insisting that he won the election arguably undermines his case. Challenging the results should be about finding the truth of how the voters voted, not about overturning the results of the election.
If Trump ultimately prevails in the re-examined 2020 election results, he needs to convince the American people that this win is legitimate — and that will be very difficult if he starts claiming that he won before he has conclusive proof to that effect.
— Team Trump (@TeamTrump) November 25, 2020