On Saturday morning, members of Donald Trump’s legal armada rushed to hold a press conference to challenge the legitimacy of the election. For their Waterloo site, they chose a landscaping company in Philadelphia that rested on an industrial road next to an erotic bookstore that hosts “Dildo Madness” sales and whose owners took a decidedly negative review of the site. water-based lubricant.
For a while, Four Seasons Total Landscaping and the nearby Fantasy Island adult bookstore, which a Yelp reviewer called “a spooky place,” were a punchline. And then they were a metaphor. Until, as the minutes passed, they took their bizarre place in the history books.
Because that’s where the team Trump assembled to turn the tide of the election – Rudy Giuliani, Pam Bondi and Corey Lewandowksi – stood up when the call fell. Joe Biden was ruled president-elect, ending the days of waiting and counting ballots in addition to the campaigning months that preceded him.
Trump’s team – barely an A-list of legal mainstays – dismissed her with a mixture of shrugs, clenched fists, and a forced determination to flood the courts with their complaints. Speaking over the distant, muted tones of “Sweet Child of Mine,” a teal painted wall and a garage door adorned with Trump-Pence signs as a backdrop, Giuliani claimed that the elections in Pennsylvania and in other states had been tainted with fraud.
At one point, he reached out and stared at the sky, mocking TV networks as fake deities whose application of math and probability to determine the election winner was not worth the prize. cheapest vibrator in the next building ($ 4.99 for minis, in case you care).
“All the networks, whoaaaa!” he declared sardonically. “All networks! We must forget the law, judges do not count!
Then he went further. Without a shimmer of evidence, he accused National Democrats of spearheading a plot to prevent Republicans from rooting out hundreds of thousands of fraudulent ballots allegedly submitted the day after election day .
“It seems to me that someone from the Democratic National Committee sent a little note saying, ‘Don’t let Republicans look at these mail-in ballots, at least not in the big pirated Democratic towns that we control,” Giuliani angrily. . “’We have done a lot to destroy these cities, and now we are going to destroy their franchise.’ ‘
Giuliani and Lewandowski were flanked by a handful of people who said they were Republican poll watchers in Philadelphia and who said they were hampered in their efforts to monitor the mail-in vote count. “This is a serious miscarriage of the process,” Giuliani said. “It’s a fraud, an absolute fraud.”
The aim, it seemed, was to protest loudly and hope for the best; a sort of channeling of a fantasy island bookstore motto: “Dildos are great, vibrators are fun, but nothing can beat the mighty tongue !!!”
But on Saturday it all sounded like background noise – the last gasps of a dying presidency and its allies. And, indeed, even some of Trump’s most committed supporters struggled to elicit much anger over how the day had gone.
“We saw it coming,” said former Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA), who now serves as Trump’s official surrogate, just moments after networks began calling it a day for Trump 2020. “AT [worst], we always have a recount and our day in court.
Trump himself was on his own fantasy island when the news broke: he started playing again at his nearby golf course on a pristine and almost alarming early November day; then mingling in a wedding party at his club as they begged him not to ‘give up’.
Such use of his Saturday might not have seemed like the thing to do with the presidency at stake. But what if it felt like a man literally doing anything to avoid coming back to the White House (where tens of thousands of people had gathered to revel in his impending ouster) or simply practice what life would be like in retirement sooner than expected, Trump’s aides quickly mobilized to dispel such thoughts.
“Obviously, he won’t concede when at least 600,000 ballots are in question,” Giuliani said.
Few, if any, in Trump’s inner circle expect him to go easy. Eight White House officials and other associates who spoke to Trump in the days following election night told the Daily Beast that he planned to devote much of his time to whining about “fraud” during the elections. predictable weeks – and being utterly rude to Biden, in part. because of the amount of outrageous “pathetic” enemy he believes is the former vice president.
A source close to Trump said this week that she simply expects the president, in his own words, to “boycott” a Biden inauguration next year, should it really take place in a world where the COVID is rampant because of Trump’s own clumsiness. pandemic.
Trump’s campaign on Saturday continued to run emails asking for money to support their defense fund to fight the election result. And his surrogates kept insisting that something sinister had happened in the past few days.
“The coordinated media efforts are simply trying to declare Joe Biden the winner and ignore the rule of law,” Jenna Ellis, senior legal counsel to Trump and his campaign, told the Daily Beast as calls continued to come in . official winner until every legal vote is accurately counted, states certify the results, and all legal challenges are resolved. “
Given the permission to speak anonymously, some members of the Trump team seemed downright disheartened and resigned themselves to the ignominy that accompanied defeat. Two senior officials working on the re-election effort have predicted that the president and his legal team will struggle for some time between now and inauguration day, and that Trump and his followers will continue to shout “fraud” and election ” stolen “, maybe for months.
“There will be a lot of messages,” one said. “But it looks like it’s over … [and] there aren’t a lot of people on the team who don’t think it’s over. That doesn’t mean they’re going to say it in public, but it is.
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