Members of President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign and his inner circle are declaring victory in the hotly-contested battleground state of Pennsylvania in tweets Wednesday, challenging Twitter’s rules against making premature election result claims.
Trump’s son, Eric Trump, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, and the Trump reelection campaign’s Twitter account, @TeamTrump, all tweeted out messages prematurely declaring a Trump victory in Pennsylvania within 10 minutes of each other, apparently unprompted by any source outside the campaign. Campaign director Bill Stepien also told reporters that the campaign had won Pennsylvania, but gave no factual basis for the claim.
More than 1 million ballots are still to be counted in Pennsylvania, and election officials are not legally required to finish their count before Friday. No major news organization has called the state for either candidate.
— Team Trump (Text VOTE to 88022) (@TeamTrump) November 4, 2020
Twitter started applying labels to the offending tweets shortly after they were posted. Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Facebook also applied a label to a post from McEnany prematurely declaring victory in Pennsylvania.
On Monday, Twitter announced that it would label tweets making claims about election results until at least two preapproved news outlets declared winners. These outlets include ABC News, the Associated Press, CNN, Decision Desk HQ, Fox News, and NBC News. As of publication, none of these outlets have declared a presidential victor in Pennsylvania.
Trump has yet to tweet about a Pennsylvania win, as of publication time, but has made a series of false or misleading claims about election results as of Wednesday. Twitter labeled four out of Trump’s last eight tweets as violating their rules and restricted engagement with the posts.
The Trump campaign has filed lawsuits to halt the counting of votes in both Michigan and Pennsylvania, but neither lawsuit has been approved by a court. In Michigan, Trump supporters have rallied outside the convention center where vote counting is taking place, in an apparent attempt to pressure election workers into ceasing the count. In Wisconsin, where Biden has already pulled ahead, the Trump campaign has pushed for a recount.