WASHINGTON – His election challenges near a dead end, President Donald Trump spent Saturday tweeting grievances, commiserating with supporters, attacking fellow Republicans and attending the Army-Navy football game.
A day after the Supreme Court refused to take up another election challenge, Trump blamed a string of Republicans – including Attorney General William Barr – for refusing to help him somehow overturn Democrat Joe Biden’s victory.
The soon-to-be-ex president also served notice he would continue protesting, vocally if not legally, even as Biden heads toward inauguration on Jan. 20.
“WE HAVE JUST BEGUN TO FIGHT!!!” Trump declaimed in one all-caps tweet, although his legal and political options are virtually nil.
Opponents said Trump is complaining because he failed at an anti-democratic attempt to overturn a free and fair election that he lost to Biden.
“There has never been a more destructive force in the history of American politics. ever,” tweeted Al Cardenas, a former chairman of the Florida Republican Party.
He added that Trump “turns against his most loyal supporters & respected GOP leaders, mocks dems he should negotiate with, destroys the GOP within & attempts to overthrow free & fair elections.”
Trump did find time to celebrate some good news: the Food and Drug Administration approval of a vaccine to fight COVID-19.
In a video released Friday night on Twitter, Trump heralded the vaccine as the beginning of the end of the coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 295,000 Americans and paralyzed large parts of the economy.
COVID’s impact included Saturday’s Army-Navy football game, won by Army 15-0.
Usually playing on a neutral field, military officials agreed to move this year’s Army-Navy contest from COVID-ravaged Philadelphia to the restricted campus of the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York. Students from West Point and the Naval Academy attended the game, but no civilian fans.
It was the first time the schools had played on either campus since 1943, when Army also hosted the game in the midst of World War II. (Navy won that contest 77 years ago, 13-0.)
Trump, who did not speak with reporters during the early part of the trip, flipped the coin at the start of the game. The limited crowd cheered the presence of the commander-in-chief, who at one point donned an anti-COVID mask as he sat with a group of Army cadets.
Trump left the game earlier than scheduled, departing Michie Stadium well before halftime.
Before leaving the White House earlier in the day, Trump also gave shout-outs to thousands of supporters who attended a rally near the White House in support of his election complaints.
Aboard the presidential helicopter, Trump flew over the rally en route to Joint Base Andrews, where he boarded Air Force One for the journey to West Point.
Amid heavy security in downtown Washington, D.C., some rallygoers were members of organizations the government regards as extremists. Enrique Tarrio, chairman of the group known as the Proud Boys, said he got a “last-minute” invitation to the White House, and posted pictures of the building on his Parler social media account.
The Proud Boy leader did not meet with Trump, the White House said. In an emailed statement, spokesman Judd Deere said “he was on a public WH Christmas tour. He did not have a meeting with the President nor did the WH invite him.”
Trump spent most of his social media time railing against the election, particularly the Supreme Court decision Friday that seemed to slam the door on his attempt to overturn his loss through the judicial system.
Pro-Trump DC protest: Rally grows unruly as Proud Boys clash with police
The justices rejected a lawsuit by the state of Texas designed to invalidate the electoral votes of four states that Biden carried: Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Georgia. The high court said Texas and other Trump-electoral states that sought to join the lawsuit lacked the legal standing to change the voting procedures of other states.
In one missive, Trump called the decision “a great and disgraceful miscarriage of justice,” and said the plaintiffs were “never even given our day in Court!”
It was only the latest of more than 50 court losses for Trump and his supporters as they try to overturn Biden’s election. A variety of judges have rejected his claims of systematic voter fraud.
In an interview with Fox News during the Army-Navy game – to be aired Sunday morning on “Fox & Friends Weekend,” Trump said: “No judge, including in the Supreme Court of the United States, has had the courage to allow it to be heard.”
More reversals are likely coming for the president.
On Monday, members of the Electoral College meet virtually in state capitals across the country to cast their votes. Biden won enough states to earn 306 electoral votes, Trump 232.
Beyond his legal challenges, Trump failed to persuade Republican-run legislatures in swing states to submit their own slate of pro-Trump electors, something they could not do under their own states’ elections laws.
During his tweet storm Saturday, Trump specifically attacked Republican Govs. Brian Kemp of Georgia and Doug Ducey of Arizona for refusing to help his protests of his losses in those states. Trump claimed the GOP governors “fought against me and the Republican Party harder than any Democrat.”
Kemp and Ducey, and other Republicans in Georgia and Arizona, said the elections in their states were conducted freely and fairly.
Trump also renewed his attacks on his own attorney general, Barr, whom he has criticized previously for not investigating his claims of election fraud.
This time, Trump hit Barr for not revealing during the campaign the existence of a tax investigation into Hunter Biden, the president-elect’s son.
“Why didn’t Bill Barr reveal the truth to the public, before the Election,” Trump complained in one tweet. He also re-tweeted a suggestion by a supporter that Barr be fired, though the president did not say whether he would follow through.
Despite the Supreme Court ruling, Trump indicated he has no plans to concede to Biden.
With Congress scheduled to accept the Electoral College vote on Jan. 6, Trump has spoken to Republican lawmakers about objecting to electors from some Biden states. But he and the Republicans lack the numbers in Congress to affect the outcome.
While many critics mocked Trump’s complaints about the election, others questioned the president’s emotional state.
Responding to another Trump tweet claiming he really “won” the election, Republican strategist Liz Mair urged the president to “please get help.”
Tweeted Mair: “You can, in fact, emotionally and psychologically withstand this loss but it’s not going to happen this way and the way you’re handling this will wind up being bad for you, health wise.”
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Donald Trump rails against Republicans over election loss to Joe Biden