Thousands of Donald Trump’s supporters are swarming Washington to protest the presidential election result even as a string of Republican lawsuits contesting ballot counts fail in court.
The Trump legal team had an unsuccessful day on Friday (local time), with nine cases designed to delegitimise Joe Biden’s win either dropped or denied.
The president himself for the first time also began to sound doubtful about his prospects, telling reporters “time will tell” who occupies the White House from January 20.
But Trump supporters appeared undeterred as they took to the streets, chanting ‘USA’ and ‘Four more years’ and marched to the Supreme Court and in other cities (on Saturday local time).
The protests which claim vote rigging are expected to feature a mix of the president’s backers, including far-right personalities and members of the Oath Keepers militia and Proud Boys group.
Buoyed by the turnout, Mr Trump repeated his unsubstantiated claims of voting fraud and a “stolen” election with a string of tweets including:
Hundreds of thousands of people showing their support in D.C. They will not stand for a Rigged and Corrupt Election! https://t.co/tr35WKTKM8
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 14, 2020
Noticeably, Mr Trump’s followers were not wearing face masks at a time when the US’s daily infections soared by 20 per cent in one day, recording more than 184,000 cases.
There have been other pro-Trump protests around the country since Joe Biden was declared the winner on November 7, but they have been small and unfolded with few incidents.
Mr Trump’s motorcade drove by some of the protesters in downtown Washington on Saturday morning on his way to his golf course in nearby Sterling, Virginia.
The crowd cheered as Mr Trump’s limousine neared and people lined both sides of the street.
Outside the course, anti-Trump demonstrators waved signs including, “We voted – You’re Fired”.
Organisers have given the rallies various names, including the Million MAGA (Make America Great Again) March, the March for Trump and Stop the Steal.
Protesting against the marches, opponents on social media sought to create confusion by flooding the hashtags #MillionMAGAMarch and #MarchforTrump with photographs of pancakes.
Some left-wing groups planned counter-demonstrations in Washington and other cities.
Democrat Joe Biden further solidified his victory on Friday as results from Edison Research showed him winning Georgia, giving him a final tally of 306 Electoral College votes, far more than the 270 needed to be elected president and above Mr Trump’s 232.
The 306 votes was equal to Mr Trump’s tally in his 2016 victory over Hillary Clinton, which at the time he called a “landslide”.
Mr Trump briefly appeared close to acknowledging the likelihood he will be leaving the White House in January during remarks about the coronavirus response at a White House event on Friday.
“This administration will not be going to a lockdown. Hopefully the, uh, whatever happens in the future – who knows which administration it will be? I guess time will tell,” Mr Trump said.
With the election outcome becoming clearer, Mr Trump has discussed with advisers possible media ventures and appearances that would keep him in the spotlight ahead of a possible 2024 White House bid, aides said.
He is considering starting a television channel or social media company to compete with those he felt betrayed him and stifled his ability to communicate directly with Americans, according to several advisers.
In the near term, Mr Trump is expected to campaign for Republican candidates in Georgia ahead of two January 5 runoff elections that will determine which party controls the US Senate.