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Image: Donald Trump
President Donald Trump uses his cellphone as he holds a roundtable discussion with Governors in the State Dining Room of the White House on June 18, 2020.Saul Loeb / AFP - Getty Images file

Trump asks election questions he ought to know the answers to

Trump's election night speech appeared designed to undermine confidence in his own country's election system. His latest tweets were no better.


Donald Trump's election night speech appeared designed to undermine the integrity of his own country's election system. This morning, true to form, the president kept the offensive going via Twitter -- with a series of missives the social-media company flagged as "misleading."

Let's take them one at a time. The Republican got the ball rolling with this tweet:

"Last night I was leading, often solidly, in many key States, in almost all instances Democrat run [and] controlled. Then, one by one, they started to magically disappear as surprise ballot dumps were counted. VERY STRANGE."

This turns reality on its head. As everyone involved in the process expected -- and encouraged the public to understand -- preliminary Republican leads in the vote tallies would fall once election officials started counting early-voting and mail-in ballots, especially those cast in predominantly Democratic areas. This isn't a "surprise," and there's nothing "magical" about any of it.

If the president finds this frustrating, he can blame GOP state legislators who refused to allow election officials to start counting the votes ahead of Election Day.

That led to the second tweet on the subject:

"How come every time they count Mail-In ballot dumps they are so devastating in their percentage and power of destruction?"

This is likely because Democrats focused so heavily on encouraging their supporters to take advantage of voting by mail, while Trump spent months telling his supporters that postal balloting is a societal scourge. Or as MSNBC's Hayes Brown put it, in response to the president, "Because you spent months telling your voters not to use mail-in voting, ya dunce."

These are not "ballot dumps" in any meaningful sense. These are legal ballots, cast through a legitimate process, which are proving "devastating" to the GOP ticket because they're from voters who preferred Trump's opponent.

And then we were treated to this presidential tweet:

"They are finding Biden votes all over the place — in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan. So bad for our Country!"

"Finding" votes makes it sound as if these ballots were somehow lost. That's absurd. At issue are ballots election officials had, but are just now counting, and which are benefiting Democrats -- just as everyone has expected all along.

I won't pretend to know whether Trump understands the basics of the vote-counting process or is merely pretending to be confused as a way of deceiving his followers. Either way, the bottom line remains the same: the president's efforts to undermine public confidence in the legitimacy of the process are indefensible. For an incumbent to argue that there's something nefarious about counting votes says a great deal about his expectations for the outcome.