Analysis on Trump’s Statement on November 5, 2020

Shannon Clark '23, Contributing Writer

Throughout his presidency, Donald Trump has made numerous false claims both with unsupported evidence or no evidence at all. These lies have ranged from saying COVID-19 would vanish with the warm weather in the spring of 2020 to declaring an election victory at 2:30 a.m. on November 4 while being nowhere near the necessary 270 electoral college votes to win. But November 5, 2020, Trump surpassed even what we thought he was capable of genuinely claiming in terms of his outright lies.

Scheduled to speak at 6:30 p.m. eastern time, Trump arrived to make his statement at 6:45 p.m. It remains unclear whether he was speaking as the current President of the United States in an attempt to “secure” and clarify ballots throughout the country or if he was just using the White House Press room for a presidential candidate’s announcement. As an American who values democracy, it is concerning that we are unable to differentiate between these two roles for which Trump is responsible.

The conference was about 16 minutes in length and Trump would not take any questions afterward. It is important to note Trump had already alluded to the fact that he will file lawsuits in most if not all of the states remaining in question (including Arizona, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, and Wisconsin). He has repeatedly made false declarations throughout the electoral process about mail-in ballots being unsafe or about how the system is rigged against him.

For content, Trump began the conference speaking as the president talking about securing the ballots and making sure every legal vote is counted. His propaganda started there when he insinuates some ballots are illegal. This short lived ‘presidential’ role abruptly ended when Trump said if only the legal votes are counted, he would win. He went on to say, “…they can try to steal the election from us if you count the votes that came in late.” By ‘they’ Trump is referring to the Democrats and Biden supporters, by ‘us’ he means the Republicans and Trump Supporters, and the ‘late votes’ are supposed to represent the legal, mailed-in ballots that are postmarked by November 3rd. In this statement alone, Trump draws a line that divides the country. He is essentially provoking civil unrest amongst Americans by creating teams to counter one another. Instead of uniting this anxious, emotional country, he added to American’s division.

Trump proceeded to list a few of the states he won of which, aside from Florida, were likely to vote in his favor. He briefly touched upon the historical importance of this election, but quickly moved onto criticizing polling, particularly about the lack of the “blue wave”, which ironically is what potentially will destroy Trump’s final chance to hang onto the presidency.

Not even the update on the Senate was correct nor bipartisan. Trump stated the Republicans held the Senate, which is not official yet, considering the two runoff elections in Georgia and other races that are still in the final stages of declaring. He updated the nation about the House of Representatives and the success the Republicans had in holding onto their seats.

In specifically mentioning minority successes, Trump mentioned new records with Republican women in Congress and the Republican candidate (himself) winning the most non-white votes in history. Keep in mind the record high number of voter turnout across the board this year. Interesting how he didn’t mention the first transgender woman elected to the Delaware state senate or the first openly gay and black man elected to the U.S. Congress from New York.

“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 we’re also, I believe, the party of inclusion,” Trump said.

Does Trump use any evidence to support this claim? No. And as the party of inclusion, wouldn’t it make sense to support equal treatment of black Americans? What about the LGBTQ+ community and women? Trump may say he is the party of inclusion, but his actions have vividly demonstrated he is nowhere near supports any other American other than cis, straight, white men.

Trump claimed there were “phony polls” or “suppression polls” where the polls were deliberately skewed in order to create momentum for Biden and take away fundraising opportunities for Republicans. Based on the 2016 election, it would be logical for voters who view the polls that favor Biden to not vote for Biden because according to the polls, he was thriving so he wouldn’t necessarily need his votes, which therefore debunks Trump’s conspiracy theory. As an example of a tampered poll, Trump used Quinnipiac (of which he mispronounced) and said it was polled completely incorrectly and this was a form of voter suppression.

Trump continued to say he was leading in many key, undecided states until suddenly his leading margin began to diminish. He blamed this on the Democrats counting the ballots, claiming Republican observers were not allowed in to oversee the counting of ballots. The only instance in which this claim is remotely true is if some, not all, but some of the observers had to leave due to COVID-19 restriction guidelines. However there were always a fair number of representatives for each party available at each necessary site.

In conjunction with Trump’s misleading statement, he once again reiterated that he has already filed multiple lawsuits in an effort to combat what he believes to be voter suppression and voter fraud without citing a direct name or even the number of lawsuits he filed.

Finally about six minutes into his speech, Trump gets to the core of his message: “…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 they aren’t by nature, but they become corrupt.”

This has been Trump’s underlying message since the idea of mail-in ballots became a more realistic possibility for voters due to the pandemic. With this new option, it is much easier for hourly workers or people who are at high risk for COVID-19 to safely vote. Trump knew that, and he knew most people who are in these scenarios won’t be voting for him, so he created this message that mail-in ballots are untrustworthy. Yet what method did Trump use to vote? Absentee.

Trump revisited the races in the states in question towards the end of his remarks. He continuously used the past tense “won” when elaborating upon the current status of Pennsylvania, Georgia, Wisconsin, and Michigan. He said, “I won by a lot. A lot.”, which implies the race was actually called in favor of Trump, when in fact the race is not over. So although Trump didn’t express it in words, he instilled an inference in the language he used that he won these states, and the mail-in ballots are not really relevant nor legal, supporting his original theory.

Shortly after, Trump addressed Arizona, stating he is on track to win that state, and contrary to the previous states, he endorsed the counting to continue in the southwestern state. In almost all other states in which the Trump campaign filed lawsuits, the campaign wanted the election workers to refrain from counting the ballots left in the state. Arizona is the exception because that’s really the only vital swing state that Trump’s numbers are increasing by; clearly a hypocritical and predictable move by the Trump campaign. And for the mailed-in ballots, Trump stated poll workers, especially democratic poll workers, refused to verify signatures on the mailed-in ballots or absentee nor the identities of any voter present or voting by mail.

To close his speech, Trump finished with the aspect of voter fraud in the 2020 election. Moments before he left the room, he stated, “This is a case where they are trying to steal an election, they are trying to rig an election, and we can’t let that happen.” Trump also claimed ‘they’, also referred to as Democrats but meaning Biden supporters, committed fraud when counting the ballots across the country. Particularly, Trump targeted the observers at the polls in Philadelphia saying the GOP observers were kept “so far away people are using binoculars to see”.

Throughout the entire speech the use of ‘we’ is a point that should be brought up again. Though Trump never specified who ‘we’ represents, it can be inferred he meant Trump supporters. The other language Trump chose to use such as “they spent” and “against us” stood out to me as almost a battle or rivalry mentality. If there is one thing this nation needs to be clear it is this: we can’t be one another’s enemies. We have to work cohesively or at least do our best to progress towards a greater unity and recognition of our many similarities as opposed to our staunch differences.

To add onto the language in the speech, Tump continuously used the word “legal” when discussing votes, implying some votes aren’t legal. He also said he wanted transparency and no secret election counting. At this stage of the election process in American history, we have cameras and record set up everywhere, so the likelihood of a predictable highly controversial election passing by undocumented is slim to none. Yet Trump proceeds to doubt the credibility of the ballots. But that has been Trump’s methodical scheme the entire election: he is going to try to undermine Americans by telling them the election was stolen by Biden supporters, and that most of the mailed-in ballots are illegal and illegitimate. Every ballot counted is an American voice that is legal and should be counted when deciding the fate of our nation.

In the last minute of the speech, Trump transitioned back to his role as president. In an attempt to demonstrate the significant fraud that is ‘occuring’ with the ballots in 2020, he said, “It’s not a question of who wins: Republican, Democrat, Joe, myself; we can’t let that happen to our country.”

At this point in the speech Trump had rambled on about the fraudulence, ballots, and lawsuits for so long, the ‘that’ in “we can’t let that happen to our country” cannot quite be identified. It is possible Trump meant a corrupt election, but the combinations of negative nouns and adjectives one could insert in place of ‘that’ are endless.

Along with the blatant lies Trump told in his speech, its grammatical structuring is extremely questionable. The sentences formed were debatable at best and Trump’s lack of fluency when delivering the speech made it difficult to comprehend. For Trump, the speech did boost his standing with his base.

Multiple other Republican senators backed Trump on his statements of potential voter fraud, which is the validation Trump is seeking. But for the United States, this statement was one of the most dangerous on so many levels. If they weren’t already before, trusting the media, believing in the electoral system, living as a minority person, and instilling faith in the government are on the verge of complete destruction.

News 19 WLTX