Despite what President Donald Trump is tweeting and saying publicly in the wake of Arizona and Wisconsin certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s victory Monday, Trump sees the scoreboard and understands he has no chance of hanging on to the presidency, two White House advisers told CNN.
Asked whether the President realizes that he’s been defeated, a close adviser who has been in contact with Trump about his legal strategy said Monday: “Yes, he does.”
The same adviser told CNN that Trump will continue to pursue his legal challenges until they are exhausted, but that adviser pointed to the certification in Wisconsin and said, “The writing is on the wall.” Without the ability to override the results in a combination of states, not to mention even one state, the adviser said Trump’s election challenges are obviously doomed.
Trump is still sounding as if he could still win because he wants to believe it, the adviser continued. But the adviser added Trump is fully aware that he has lost.
Trump has not conceded the election and he still falsely claims that he won, but his administration has approved access to transition materials and national security briefings for Biden and his team.
A separate adviser said the President has understood for some time that it is unlikely he will be able to overturn the election results but that Trump simply does not want to say that out loud.
There may be another reason for the reticence: since Election Day, Trump and his political operation have raised more than $170 million, a person familiar with the matter said – a massive fundraising haul fueled by Trump’s baseless allegations that the election was rigged. In all, the campaign has sent 400 fundraising emails and another 125 texts between 11 p.m. Election Night and early Tuesday morning.
One campaign adviser confirmed the $170 million number and said it’s a big indication that Trump “isn’t going anywhere.”
The adviser said there is already talk of Trump doing some extensive post-presidency travel, including overseas trips to maintain his visibility.
Certifying election results is typically a formality, but the process had been the subject of Trump’s long-shot attempt to cling onto power. His campaign has unsuccessfully tried to block or delay certification in key states in hopes of overturning Biden’s victory through the Electoral College.
Those efforts, though, are nearing an end as states continue to certify their results ahead of the Electoral College meeting on December 14.
Wisconsin Democratic Gov. Tony Evers formally certified Biden’s victory on Monday, signing the paperwork to award the state’s 10 electoral votes to the President-elect after a Trump campaign-requested recount in Wisconsin’s two most populous counties.
Arizona also certified its election results on Monday, awarding the state’s 11 electoral votes to Biden and clearing the way for Senator-elect Mark Kelly, a Democrat, to be sworn in this week.
Pennsylvania and Nevada each completed their certification processes last week.
Republican Gov. Doug Ducey praised the integrity of Arizona’s election system after witnessing Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, certify the election results Monday morning, as required by state law. Ducey said he would sign official documentation on Monday and have it hand-delivered to the president of the US Senate, so that Kelly “can be sworn in as swiftly as possible.”
In several tweets Monday night, Trump accused Ducey of “rushing to put a Democrat in office,” making baseless voter fraud allegations and vowing that “Republicans will long remember!”
Trump then sent a number of retweets about Ducey, including one that read, “Who needs Democrats when you have Republicans like Brian Kemp and Doug Ducey?” The President has also recently attacked Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, another member of his own party, over fraud allegations.
CNN’s Nikki Carvajal, Bob Ortega, Samira Said, Marshall Cohen, Fredreka Schouten, Jeremy Diamond, Betsy Klein and Devan Cole contributed to this report.