Twitter showed tweets from administration officials, family members and President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign claiming victory for Trump in Pennsylvania, while state election officials continued to count the votes cast in the 2020 presidential election.
The president led the way with about 84 percent of the state’s results reported by 5 p.m. ET on Wednesday. At that time, however, no official decision had been made on who had won the state election campaign.
Many political experts predicted before election day that the outcome of the presidential campaign would be as far away as Pennsylvania. Since the Trump and Democratic presidential candidate, Joe Biden, was still below the 270 votes needed to win the presidency on Wednesday night, both candidates hoped that the 20 votes from Pennsylvania would be in their favor.
Instead of an official appeal, some people close to Trump began celebrating what they believed would be a triumph for his campaign.
“VICTORY for President @realDonaldTrump in PENNSYLVANIA,” White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany twittered on Wednesday afternoon.
VICTORY for President @realDonaldTrump in PENNSYLVANIA â¼ï¸
– Kayleigh McEnany (@kayleighmcenany) November 4, 2020
“We have won Pennsylvania,” wrote Trump’s son Eric Trump.
Donald Trump Jr., the oldest of the President’s sons, returned to his brother’s post and added, “Based on actual mathematics, not gimmickry, as the Democrats are trying to do.
Based on actual mathematics and not on gimmickry, as the Democrats try. https://t.co/AnjVB3IosA
– Donald Trump Jr (@DonaldJTrumpJr) November 4, 2020
Twitter added flags to each of their posts that are read: “Official sources may not have called the race when this was tweeted. The flag was hyperlinked to a Twitter feed that compiled election coverage from various media.
President @realDonaldTrump wins #Pennsylvania! pic.twitter.com/5BUwYMxaby
– Team Trump (text voice until 88022) (@TeamTrump) November 4, 2020
Twitter added the same flag to a tweet from Trump’s campaign, which similarly declared victory in Pennsylvania. When Trump himself posted two tweets early Wednesday night declaring Pennsylvania and three other Battleground States as victors, Twitter added the flag again. The platform also described the President’s second tweet, which stated that there were “a large number of secretly submitted ballots” in Michigan, as potentially misleading and a violation of the policy of civic integrity pursued by Twitter.
…..There were large numbers of secretly cast ballots, as widely reported!
– Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 4, 2020
Both Twitter and Facebook pointed to numerous postings that, according to the platforms, spread misinformation or violated their corporate policies throughout the election cycle. After personal voting was completed and the ballots were counted nationwide on Tuesday evening, Trump posted on Twitter and Facebook early Wednesday morning that the Democrats were trying to “steal” him the election – although official sources still had to call many key battleground states. Both Twitter and Facebook described the posts as potentially misleading.
Most national polls conducted in recent months indicated that Biden was at an advantage on the road to the election, and state polls conducted in October by Marist College, Monmouth University, Morning Consult and several others also indicated that Biden was at the top of the list of registered and likely voters in Pennsylvania. With record voter turnout and more postal ballots than ever before in this election cycle, official sources have been reluctant to call competing states such as Pennsylvania too quickly as states have stated that they need to count the votes their voting departments have received.
Washington Newsday asked Trump to comment on his campaign, but did not receive a response in time for publication.