“It was a choice we easily won. We won a lot,” Trump told lawmakers and Republican supporters in the ballroom of a hotel in Gettysburg. “It is very sad that I have said – these elections have been rigged and we cannot let that happen. We cannot let this happen to our country. These elections must be reversed.”
Trump has made few appearances since the election, and the phone call is the most direct remark he has made about his desire to reverse the results of the contest.
His allegations were widely rejected by election officials in both parties and in a number of court challenges that ended in the defeat of the Trump campaign. Democrat Joe Biden won the 2020 election with more than 6 million votes and matched the Electoral College difference that Trump accumulated in 2016.
Trump’s remarks came closer to the end of a lengthy presentation by his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, who presented a number of witnesses – some in person, others by videoconference – who shared their stories of election oddities and irregularities.
Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar’s spokeswoman called the “tired conspiracy theories” allegations “rejected and rejected by the court.”
“Continuing these fakes in front of the cameras will only hurt the democracy that so many Americans have died to protect,” the spokesman said.
The Biden campaign refused to respond to the president’s remarks, citing an earlier statement to reporters that called Trump’s reaction a “by-pass”.
“Look, the election is over, virtually everyone on Earth has accepted this truth except Donald Trump and Rudy Giulian, the Trump campaign has been ridiculed from every courtroom, their unworthy and baseless lawsuits sought to undermine the will of the American people,” spokeswoman Kate Bedingfield said.
Trump considered flying to Gettysburg to appear in person at the GOP event, but shortly before the meeting began, reporters were told there would be no trip. At one point after the discussion, Trump could be interrogated on the speaker phone held by another lawyer, Jenna Ellis, which gave direction to Giuliani.
When he addressed the group by phone, Trump said the anecdotes presented at the board meeting represent only a small portion of the sworn statements collected by his legal team.
“We need to reverse the election,” Trump repeated. “We just need some judges to hear it properly, without having a political opinion or any other problem.”
Much of the hearing and most of the testimony focused on allegations that Republican poll observers were forced to go too far from the counting process to determine if the votes had been cast legally.
“If you were a Republican pollster, you were treated like a dog,” Trump said. “But the Democrats had no problems. They were rude. They were literally ousted.”
Over the past three weeks, the Trump campaign has posed a legal challenge to this claim, but they have ultimately been rejected by Pennsylvania courts. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court rejected the Trump campaign’s claims that viewers were not close enough to “meaningfully observe” the number of votes.
In a 5- to 2-vote vote, the court found that election officials complied with the law, ensuring the Trump campaign had adequate access to pollsters who opened mail. There are simply no requirements that would say how close observers should be to observing the process, the court found.
“These provisions do not set a minimum distance” for observers to observe the process, wrote Debra Todd Justice for the majority. “The General Assembly could have easily determined these parameters if it wished, but it did not.”
And not even the opposites were part of the Trump campaign argument. In his dissenting opinion, Chief Justice Thomas G. Saylor wrote that the campaign’s request to cancel a large number of ballots “on the basis of isolated procedural irregularities” was “wrong.”
In his remarks on Wednesday, the president reaffirmed previous reports that he was having difficulty assuring the lawyer that he would undertake efforts to challenge the election.
“There are other lawyers who stepped back because they screamed at them,” Trump said, praising Giuliani’s loyalty. “I told him the other day, Rudy, you were the greatest mayor … but what you are doing now is more important. It will be the result of your crown because you will save our country.”
In his presentation, Giuliani reiterated other arguments that were quickly rejected by the courts – including the claim that the election should be annulled because voters were treated differently from voters in Republican-majority counties than in democratic-majority jurisdictions. According to a federal decision, these allegations are “without merit.”
“Tense legal arguments were filed with the Court without merit and speculative allegations, were not considered in the operational complaint and were not substantiated by evidence,” Judge Matthew W. Brann wrote. “In the United States, this does not justify the disenfranchisement of a single voter, let alone all voters in its sixth most populous state. Our people, our laws, and our institutions are demanding more.”
This case is now under appeal.
Philadelphia lawyer Mark Aronchick, who argued against Giuliani, said he would wait for the appellate court’s opinion before he could declare any legal victory in the legal battle.
“On the rooftops, I say the American public should be extremely proud to have an independent judiciary,” Aronchick said. “We operate according to the rule of law and not according to the soap box rule from the Four Seasons Total Landscaping entrance.”
Republican lawmakers, who hosted Wednesday’s House of Representatives meeting, said they were eager to find a way to solve the significant problems of the 2020 election. Giuliani urged them to find a way to invalidate the mail.
“The numbers don’t come together in this election,” Giuliani said. “Count the honest votes and the winner of the election.”
ABC News Will Steakin and John Verhovek contributed to the report.