WASHINGTON: A federal judge in Pennsylvania delivered a stinging rebuke on Saturday to US President Donald Trump and his efforts to subvert election results, but the public humiliation notwithstanding, the defeated candidate and his campaign lawyers continued to troll the nation with wild conspiracy theories they have been unable to prove in court.
In an embarrassing smackdown for Trump, Judge Matthew Brann threw his case out, ruling “This court has been presented with strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations, unpled in the operative complaint and unsupported by evidence.”
The judge also said that granting relief would have meant invalidating the ballots of every person who voted in Pennsylvania while noting, “Rather than requesting that their votes be counted, they (Trump lawyers) seek to discredit scores of other votes, but only for one race. This is simply not how the Constitution works.”
The chiding by Judge Matthew Brann was so severe that Trump minions immediately accused him of being an Obama-appointed judge — except it turns out he is a deeply conservative Republican and a member of the Federalist society whose name was proposed by Pat Toomey, Pennsylvania’s GOP Senator.
Toomey himself urged Trump to give up his fight, saying “with today’s decision by Judge Brann, a longtime conservative R whom I know to be a fair and unbiased jurist, to dismiss the Trump campaign’s lawsuit, President Trump has exhausted all plausible legal options to challenge the result of the presidential race in Pa.”
But the suggestion only enraged Trump, whose legal strategems have now assumed farcical dimensions. Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s press conference, with sweat and hair dye dripping down his face, has become fodder for late night comics, even as Trump continues to avoid questions from the media more than two weeks after he conclusively lost the election but refuses to concede with allegations that are seen as bogus by most rational analysts, including conservative icons. By one count the Trump campaign has now lost more than 30 cases challenging the result of the election, which most of the world, including India, has recognised and reached out to Joe Biden as the President-elect.
In a face-saving retreat following Judge Brann’s censure, Trump lawyers said they were happy with what they saw as a quick partisan ruling because it would allow them to appeal it and bump it up to the Supreme Court.
More Republicans have urged Trump to backdown but the defeated President is bunkering down with more extreme members of the party seemingly intent on carrying his fight to the bitter end that could end up dividing the GOP if not the country.
Among those counseling Trump to back down was Liz Cheney, former vice president Dick Cheney’s daughter and also an influential member of the House. “America is governed by the rule of law. The President and his lawyers have made claims of criminality and widespread fraud, which they allege could impact election results. If they have genuine evidence of this, they are obligated to present it immediately in court and to the American people. If the President cannot prove these claims or demonstrate that they would change the election result, he should fulfill his oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States by respecting the sanctity of our electoral process,” Cheney, who is also the chair of the House Republican Conference, said in a statement on Saturday. Trump lashed out at her.
“Sorry Liz, can’t accept the results of an election with hundreds of thousands of fraudulent votes cast, enough to easily flip the Election. You’re just unhappy that I’m bringing the troops back home where they belong!” he said in a tweet that Twitter flagged for misinformation. Dozens of such tweets by Trump and his minions have been flagged for bogus claims, forcing many of them to retreat into new extremist echo chambers where they recycle conspiracy theories to each other.
Sorry Liz, can’t accept the results of an election with hundreds of thousands of fraudulent votes cast, enough to e… https://t.co/LI6bcqUJmM
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 1606009795000
While Trump’s troll patrol boiled in outrage, the bunkered President himself was out playing golf over the weekend, with token virtual appearances at the G-20 webinar summit, which critics dubbed as Trump’s Golf-20 summit. He did not attend a panel session on the pandemic that had Germany’s Angela Merkel and France’s Emanuel Macron on it, and instead, tweeted “The Fake News is not talking about the fact that “Covid” is running wild all over the World, not just in the U.S. I was at the Virtual G-20 meeting early this morning and the biggest subject was Covid. We will be healing fast, especially with our vaccines!”
The daily US case count is now nearing 200,000, with deaths having surpassed 255,000. No country comes even close.