Supporters of US President Donald Trump staged a march through Washington yesterday, protesting unsubstantiated claims of election fraud. A week since Democrat candidate Joe Biden clinched the electoral college numbers required to claim the presidency. Meanwhile Donald Trump, a Republican, continues to refuse acknowledgment or accept the outcome, launching a barrage of legal challenges to overturn the results. Most of these have been thrown out of court already due to a lack of supportive evidence to back up the claims.
Carrying flags, shouting “stop the steal”, protesters marched from Freedom Plaza near the White House to the US Supreme Court building on Capitol Hill. They called it the Million MAGA March.
President Trump’s motorcade drove past the crowds as he travelled to his golf course in Sterling, Virginia. He was wearing a red baseball cap with the slogan, “Make America Great Again”. The President was seen waving from inside his limousine. The demonstrators were mostly identifiable by their lack of face-masks with many participants rejecting measures to contain the spread of cCovid-19 around the US.
Ardent supporter, Donald Tarca Jr., travelled from Florida and held a US flag with a giant portrait of Trump.
“I think it was rigged on multiple fronts… the media was so biased that they convinced millions of Americans to vote for Biden. They hate Trump.”
Far-right protesters, the Proud Boys, dressed in black with some wearing protective army gear, were among the marchers. Smaller counter-demonstrations were also staged but police kept the groups apart. They yelled at Trump supporters… “Nazis”. Protesters shouted back profanities about a group called antifa, popularly demonised by President Trump.
There were a few scuffles and standoffs between protesters and police behind barricades but the violence was isolated.
Police made 10 arrests by the middle of the afternoon including 4 over firearms violations, 2 for assault and another for assaulting a police officer.
Meanwhile, President Trump’s bluster over the election result sounded a less abrupt when he spoke briefly to reporters on Friday, saying “time will tell”, referring to who would occupy the White House on January 20. He checked himself whilst talking about the coronavirus sweeping the US at the moment.
“This administration will not be going to a lockdown. Hopefully the, uhh, whatever happens in the future… who knows which administration it will be? I guess time will tell.”
He has repeated allegations that the election was “rigged”, comments and Twitter rants that have inflamed his loyal supporters.
Biden has won 306 votes to Trump’s 232 in the state-by-state Electoral College system, far more than the 270 required to win the election. President-elect Biden also leads in the popular vote by more than 5.5 million votes. Donald Trump lost the popular vote in the 2016 election against Hillary Clinton, but won the Electoral College.
President Trump has reportedly discussed about possible media ventures and appearances that would keep him in the spotlight ahead of a possible 2024 White House bid, according to sources at the White House
The Trump campaign has now filed lawsuits in multiple states but have so far been unable to present any evidence of the alleged voter fraud. Legal experts continue to claim the litigation is unlikely to alter the election outcome.
States have to certify their election results by December 8 and choose electors for the Electoral College. Some states have varying rules and certification dates. The Electoral College will meet to vote officially to ‘elect’ the new president on December 14.
The usual transition to a new presidency is being hampered by President Trump’s refusal to concede the result, a traditional nicety but not legally required. The funding for an incoming president-elect, administered by the General Services Administration, has not been released as the incumbent administration refuses to recognise the Biden-Harris victory.
Meanwhile the Biden-Harris transition team says their top priority is the coronavirus pandemic. The US set another daily record of new cases on Friday, following a week of record days. More than 244,000 people have died of the coronavirus sin theUS since the start of the pandemic.