“Well, that easily was the most outlandish press conference ever held by a team of lawyers representing the President of the United States,” wrote National Review editor Rich Lowry.
Fox News carried the marathon presser live and in its entirety, along with Trump-supporting networks One America News Network and Newsmax. CNN and MSNBC skipped it.
Giuliani made claim after claim of electoral fraud, then attacked the media for not treating it seriously or investigating allegations. But a number of reporters have and, in addition to debunking claims of systemic electoral fraud, certainly of the magnitude that could change the results, Trump’s legal team has suffered defeat after defeat in court, and earlier on Thursday dropped its effort to prevent the state of Michigan from certifying the election results.
At the event, before reporters packed into a space despite concerns over the spread of COVID-19, Giuliani repeated his claims of a conspiracy by Democrats to steal the election. He at one point quoted and even imitated Joe Pesci in a scene from My Cousin Vinny, which he called “one of my favorite law movies.” Then, as he went on, with sweat on his face, black streaks started running down the side of his face, in what looked to be hair dye.
Giuliani admonished the media to look into affidavits collected by the campaign that they say back up their claims, but that was quickly overshadowed as other members of the team tried to advance a conspiracy theory over states’ use of software from Dominion Voting Systems, including that it was connected to Hugo Chavez communists, George Soros and the Clinton Foundation. The company issued a lengthy fact check on the claims earlier this week.
After the press conference ended, Fox News’ Kristin Fisher said, “That was certainly a colorful news conference from Rudy Giuliani, but it was light on facts. So much of what he said was not true or has already been thrown out in court.” She added that he failed to provide hard evidence to back up the contention of a nationwide conspiracy. She also noted that Giuliani continues to claim widespread voter fraud in Philadelphia even though in court he has stated “this is not a fraud case.”
Even though mainstream media outlets have continuously tried to fact check many of Trump’s claims that the election was stolen from him, despite a lack of evidence, it’s raised serious issues that it is an attempt to undermine President-elect Joe Biden as well as the democratic process itself. A Reuters/Ipsos poll showed that 52% of Republicans believe that Trump “rightfully won” the election, even though the Associated Press and major networks have called the race for Biden.
Although disinformation has been rampant on social media platforms, NPR’s media correspondent David Folkenflik wrote that it was irresponsible for networks to carry Giuliani’s remarks live and without context. “For those taking the press conference live: If you’re in the news business, it’s malpractice to carry Giuliani’s press conference live at length without any cut ins to note the myriad ways the public record contradicts him,” he wrote.
Among other things, one of the Trump campaign lawyers, Sidney Powell, said, “President Trump won by a landslide, and we are going to prove it, and we are going to reclaim the United States of America for people who vote for freedom.” The Republican National Committee then tweeted out the clip, which has no basis in reality. Biden is on track to win not just 306 electoral votes, the same number that Trump had in 2016, but by a popular vote margin of around 6 million votes.
Chris Krebs, the Homeland Security cybersecurity official who was fired by Trump earlier this week after he refuted the president’s claims of massive voter fraud, wrote that the press conference was “the most dangerous 1hr 45 minutes of television in American history. And possibly the craziest. If you don’t know what I am talking about, you’re lucky.”
The strategy of the Trump campaign now appears to be to convince state elected officials to swing their electors to the president, despite the will of the voters. Trump reportedly has invited Michigan lawmakers to the White House on Friday, the New York Times reported, after the president reached out to one election official in Wayne County, MI who had originally refused to certify the results in that region. The tally shows that Biden won Michigan by more than 146,000 votes.
At the press conference, there seemed to be some awareness among Trump team lawyers that Giuliani’s black streaks would generate perhaps more attention than the claims they were making about the election. To a certain extent they were right. About an hour later, the IATSE union chimed in, writing in a tweet, “Here’s why you should hire union hair and makeup professionals.”
Here's why you should hire union hair and makeup professionals: pic.twitter.com/84urAAuh9E
— IATSE (@IATSE) November 19, 2020