Britain’s Foreign Secretary has refused to comment on the false claim by Donald Trump that he has already won the election – despite millions of votes still to be counted.
Trump said this early Wednesday morning in front of a White House audience: “We were preparing to win this election. Frankly, we won this election.” However, the count is not yet complete, and the Associated Press puts Joe Biden at 225 votes in the electoral college, while Trump is slightly behind at 213. Whoever receives 270 or more votes will win.
The President said the Democrats were trying to “deprive people who voted for him of the right to vote. “Millions of people voted for us tonight,” he said. “A very sad group of people are trying to deprive this group of people of the right to vote. And we will not tolerate this.”
Trump also claimed – without evidence – that there had been electoral fraud, and said he would ask the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene in the electoral process. “We want all elections to be stopped,” he said. “We don’t want them to find any ballot papers at four in the morning and put them on the list. This is a very sad moment.”
Asked if he would condemn the President’s statements, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab replied that he would not be drawn into “comments on election campaign commentary”.
“It is a very close election, we are watching it with great interest, the decision is up to the American people, and whatever comments are made on election night by both sides of the campaign, I am confident and we have every confidence in the US institutions, in checks and balances and in the US electoral system,” he told the BBC. “We will watch with interest, but forgive me if I do not comment on the commentary”.
Raab was asked whether it was “time to call him out” and whether he could say that Trump’s assertions were right or wrong, and repeated this: “You ask me to comment on the campaign commentary, I will refrain from doing so. He said: “It is a very close election, we may not know the final result for hours, if not days, but as I said before, I am fully confident that the U.S. system will produce a final result, and as a close friend of America, we will watch and see how that turns out.
“I am confident and have complete confidence” U.S. institutions will produce a “final result”.
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab says it could take “days not hours” to get a conclusive result #Election2020 resulthttps://t.co/jLjAUP0uxN pic.twitter.com/Z51jcefhfM
– BBC Policy (@BBC Policy) November 4, 2020
“We will not engage in election night commentary or post-mortem commentary – this is clearly a much closer election than expected, and I think under the circumstances there will be a lot of fingernail biting on both sides of the debate, but we will wait for the final result, we have full confidence in the American system that it will deliver one, and we will be there ready, able and enthusiastic to work with our American friends, regardless of the outcome.
Trump has achieved necessary victories in Florida, Ohio, Iowa and Texas. The results from the contested states of Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Wisconsin and Michigan have yet to be announced. The final election results were not yet available on election night, as more and more Americans are casting their votes by postal vote as a result of the pandemic.
Former Vice President Joe Biden – currently leading the voting at the Electoral College according to the Associated Press – gave his supporters a brief update earlier, reminding them that the long night was to be expected. Despite Trump’s victories in Florida and Texas, two states considered feasible by the Democrats, Biden said his team feels “good where we are” and he is confident that Arizona will ultimately be decided in his favor.
“It is not my job or Donald Trump’s job to explain who won this election,” Biden said. “This is the decision of the American people, but I am optimistic about this outcome.