WASHINGTON – After holding 14 rallies in three days, President Donald Trump is spending Election Day at the White House making calls, giving interviews, monitoring events and hoping for a come-from-behind victory over Democratic challenger Joe Biden.
“You have the power to vote, so go out and vote – unless you are going to vote for somebody other than me,” Trump told supporters Monday during a rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
Trump began with a telephone interview on one of his favorite news shows, “Fox & Friends.” He will visit his re-election headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, and may conduct interviews with local media outlets in key battleground states.
After a long final day on the campaign trail, Trump did not arrive back at the White House until after midnight Monday.
Trump and campaign aides plan to monitor election returns from the White House.
Officials also are planning an election night party at the White House with Trump’s family, staff members, campaign officials and other supporters.
Trump begins Election Day with interview on ‘Fox & Friends,’ says he won’t declare victory prematurely
Less than five hours after returning to the White House from the campaign trail, Trump phoned in to Fox & Friends – late – to say he is “feeling very good” about Election Day.
“It’s been a great run,” Trump told the Fox hosts in a phone interview.
While predicting victory, Trump spent part of the interview disparaging Vice President Joe Biden, predecessor Barack Obama, and congressional Democrats who have been “mean” to him during his term in the White House.
Trump also said he would not declare victory prematurely because “there’s no reason to play games” as states take time counting votes, including mail-in ballots. Trump predicted he would win more than 306 electoral votes.
Promoting his campaign one last time, Trump sounded tired and had a scratchy voice. After headlining five rallies in four states on Monday – and 14 rallies in three days – Trump did not return to the White House until 3 a.m.
Fox scheduled the interview for 7 a.m., but Trump did not get on the phone until 7:45 a.m. The interview lasted until 8:20 a.m.
Trump said he planned to spend they day making a “big series of calls” to supporters and local media outlets.
Predicting victory in a variety of key states, Trump again attacked “suppression polls” that show him trailing Biden in a number of key states. He said critics have “been mean” during his presidency, and said domestic enemies have been harder to speak with than hostile foreign leaders.
“The most difficult country to deal with is the U.S.,” Trump said at one point.
Trump also complained, again, about news coverage, including Fox News – but not the morning program “Fox & Friends.” Citing his frequent appearances on the morning program, Trump told the hosts: “This has been a very special show for me.”
– David Jackson
White House plans an Election Night party (whether it’s a victory party remains to be seen)
The White House is planning to hold an Election Night party tonight, but it is not on President Donald Trump’s schedule, at least not yet.
Why? There’s no way to tell if it will be a victory party.
Still, an ever-hopeful White House is planning to host hundreds of administration officials, campaign aides, and assorted friends of Trump at an event to be held in the East Room.
“We will be together,” press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told Fox News. “We’ll be there at the White House.”
The planned party has drawn criticism from ethics groups who say Trump is again using the White House improperly for campaign purposes, just as he did in August with his Republican convention acceptance speech on the South Lawn.
“Donald Trump has used his nearly four years in federal office to break down the concept of federal office,” said Jordan Libowitz, communications director for the organization Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).
Trump’s methods, he said, range from “using the White House as a prop for political rallies” to “senior administration officials using their official positions to campaign for him” – and to an election party in the East Room.
The president’s team considered holding the election night event at Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., but the city’s COVID-19 restrictions on crowd sizes forced them to scrap the idea. Those restrictions do not apply to the White House, where Trump has had several large events.
– David Jackson
Pence to make several media appearances on Election Day
Vice President Mike Pence will make several media appearances on Election Day, in line with Trump, who began the day by appearing on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends.”
Pence will sit for several local radio and TV interviews in markets across the country. Pence appeared on local talk radio shows in Wisconsin, Michigan and conservative channels.
At 1:00 p.m., Pence will appear on Orlando, Fla.’s WFTV station for a television interview. The Orlando metropolitan area is one of the most diverse and voter-rich regions in the state for both parties, as well as one of the most expensive media markets in the country.
Later in the afternoon, Pence will appear on South Florida-based Spanish language media and conservative talk radio in the central Florida and Pittsburg, Pa. areas.
Pence’s final media appearance of the day, for Miami station WAQI or “Radio Mambí,” will air at 7:00 p.m. ET, when polls will close in the state.
— Matthew Brown
First lady Melania Trump casts her ballot in Florida
First lady Melania Trump voted in-person at the Morton and Barbara Mandel Recreation Center on Election Day, at around 10 a.m. local time.
The first lady was wearing a white dress with a gold chain pattern, sunglasses and pumps. She did not have on a face mask, but security surrounding her did.
Her face was serious except for a quick smile and wave to reporters and photographers as she walked by them. On her way back out, she stopped briefly for photos and spoke to reporters, saying she was feeling “great,” according to the pool report.
When asked why she didn’t vote with her husband last week, she said, “It’s Election Day, so I wanted to come here to vote today for the election.”