President Donald Trump posted misleading conspiracy theories about the 2020 presidential election on Wednesday morning, and Twitter was not buying it. The president was roasted in responses and retweets of his comment about the "VERY STRANGE" election results. To many commenters, there was nothing "strange" at all about the tally.
Trump's tweet misrepresents the process itself and disregards the input and explanation from election officials and experts. His tweet was flagged by the Twitter Safety team, meaning it cannot be viewed without first seeing a disclaimer that "some or all of the content shared in this Tweet is disputed and might be misleading about an election or other civic process." Twitter users themselves did some amateur fact-checking that involved plenty of memes and take-downs along the way.
Last night I was leading, often solidly, in many key States, in almost all instances Democrat run & controlled. Then, one by one, they started to magically disappear as surprise ballot dumps were counted. VERY STRANGE, and the “pollsters” got it completely & historically wrong!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 4, 2020
According to The Associated Press, the election results were delayed because state governments chose different ways of handling the increased volume of mail-in ballots, which were caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Despite ample resources for understanding this process, checks and balances on it and complete transparency, Trump continues to cast doubt on the election.
Critics had fun teasing the president about this, but many also voiced genuine concerns about it. They wondered what the impact might be on an already divided nation. Here is a look at the response to Trump's tweet on Wednesday morning.
Yes, that’s how counting the votes works. Unbelievable, eh? https://t.co/4x4yv04pCa— Pablo Villaça (@pablovillaca) November 4, 2020
It’s not magic it’s math. Every. Vote. Counts. https://t.co/TstN9dfOpS— Bryan Greenberg (@bryangreenberg) November 4, 2020
i was counting my fingers and i got to three but then i had to go to bed. when i woke up i finished counting my fingers and there were five??? very suspicious https://t.co/xHRoszZobA— Erika Heidewald, Yes on Prop 17 (@erikaheidewald) November 4, 2020
Many people were surprised that Trump would admit to such a simple misunderstanding on a public forum, pointing out that at the heart of this issue is the simple act of "counting."prevnext
Okay, so I’m winning the in the first half and “magically” the other team scores 2 touchdowns in the second half?? They’re trying to steal this football game! https://t.co/RKsBnNokeV— Glenn with two n’s (@GlennHowerton) November 4, 2020
Last night I was hungry, so I ate food. Then, hour by hour, I started to magically get hungry again. VERY STRANGE. https://t.co/Q05YJ52yt5— Spencer Althouse (@SpencerAlthouse) November 4, 2020
To contextualize Trump's tweet, many turned to analogies like sports to argue that it lacked solid logic. They argued that Trump has already done all he can to "score points" in this "game," but he cannot do much to change how those "points" are counted.prevnext
This is not a surprise, you man-child. You knew there were HUGE numbers of mail in ballots bc of how poorly you handled the pandemic. No one knows who has won yet. These votes will be counted. Maybe take Valium instead of Adderall today https://t.co/9Dq9o62fwx— Trishelle (@TrishelleC) November 4, 2020
While mail-in ballots have been politicized during this election, many critics pointed out how divisive it is for Trump to try to disregard them. Americans of any political persuasion could be legitimately fearful for their health right now, and their vote should still count — especially since it was cast in through an established and safe process.prevnext
What’s going to be done about it?? We saw it too. Twitter wants to censor your tweet AGAIN‼️😡 I knew the mail in ballots were bad news. I voted in person! For YOU as did millions of others‼️ I no longer trust our election system or our justice system‼️ @realDonaldTrump https://t.co/8JSxBZo1aT— (¯`*•.¸,¤°´✿.｡.: SassyChump4Trump*.:｡.✿`°¤,¸.•*´¯) (@AmandaPanda8309) November 4, 2020
The president's supporters decried Twitter's disclaimer on his tweet as "censorship," though it is well within the terms and conditions of the platform. In previous cases, the president's tweets have violated the rules enough to get his account suspended altogether, though Twitter executives say they will not take that step because they believe it is better for the people to see what he has to say, as long as it is in the right context.prevnext
On the other hand, many users thanked Twitter for applying disclaimers to this tweet and taking some editorial responsibility for the content on its platform.prevnext
🎶You’re about to lose your job🎶 https://t.co/Ed6kuIBhPx— Charles M. Blow (@CharlesMBlow) November 4, 2020
Meanwhile, many took this tweet as a sign that the president is "scared" of the true election results, believing that the mail-in ballots will favor former Vice President Joe Biden. In general, political analysts have speculated that this will be the case.prevnext
Finally, although Trump is demonstrably wrong with his election conspiracy theories, many users commented on how "terrifying" it is to see a sitting president spread misinformation on this level. They feared for what his die-hard supporters would do if they were convinced by his tweets and not more reliable sources of information.prev