Donald Trump was asked if he was using “the language of a dictator” following a brief but extraordinary press conference in which he doubled down on election misinformation, refused to say if he would attend Joe Biden’s inauguration, and angrily assailed a reporter for asking if he would concede to his Democratic rival.
The US president on Thursday took reporters’ questions for the first time since the 3 November vote, but he mostly failed to answer accurately as he continued to deny the fact Mr Biden won both the electoral college and the popular vote.
“If the media were honest and big tech was fair this wouldn’t even be a contest and I would have won by a tremendous amount,” Mr Trump said from the White House. “And I did win by a tremendous amount, but it hasn’t been reported yet.”
There is no evidence to suggest Mr Trump won the election. US courts have largely thrown out his campaign’s attempts to suggest election fraud and even his own government has begun the transition process to a new Biden administration.
Mr Biden received a record 80 million votes, to the incumbent’s nearly 74 million. Crucially he secured 306 electoral college votes to Mr Trump’s 232.
Asked if he would attend Mr Biden’s inauguration in January, Mr Trump said he had made already made up his mind but would not yet reveal his decision, before going on to baselessly claim “sacred” poll watchers were “thrown out of rooms” where ballots were being counted.
There is no evidence poll watchers were denied access to counting rooms and Mr Trump’s legal team admitted so in legal filings contesting election results.
Asked repeatedly if he would concede the election when the electoral college votes for Joe Biden next month, Mr Trump lost his temper with a reporter.
“Don’t talk to me that way, you’re just a lightweight,” Mr Trump said. “Don’t talk to me that … I’m the president of the United States, don’t ever talk to the president that way.”
He eventually admitted he would leave the White House by 20 January once the electoral college confirms Mr Biden’s win.
Concluding the press conference, Mr Trump again claimed the election was “rigged”, before thanking the assembled media and standing up to leave the room.
On his way out one reporter asked, “Isn’t this the language of a dictator?” while another said: “Mr President, some people say you’re denying reality.”
Mr Trump failed to respond to either.