Trump makes baseless claims, broadcast networks cut away from speech
The first public appearance of US President Donald Trump after the election day was cut short as major television networks broke away from his speech. The reason? The incumbent commander-in-chief was making baseless accusations without providing substantial evidence. Among those who cut away from his live address were three big broadcast networks, ABC, CBS, and NBC. CNN and Fox News stuck around, reports NYT.
As counting showed leads for Biden, Trump spoke to media
Trump addressed the press while counting in battleground states showed his opponent Joe Biden had an edge. As per the latest projections, the Democrat has 253 electoral votes, while Trump has 213. None of them have the magic number of 270, but as voting continued, Biden took giant leaps toward the White House. Visibly upset with the election results, Trump accused Democrats of cheating.
MSNBC moved fastest, interrupted after just 35 seconds of speech
Trump began by accusing Democrats of "trying to steal" the election. "If you count the legal votes, I easily win," he said. Quickly, MSNBC moved. Within 35 seconds of Trump's speech, anchor Brian Williams interrupted. "Here we are again in the unusual position of not only interrupting the President of the United States but correcting the President of the United States," Williams said.
What President is saying is largely untrue: CNBC's anchor
Later, MSNBC did not return to the White House press room from where Trump peddled lies. CNBC's Shepard Smith seemed equally irritated. "We are interrupting this because what the President of the United States is saying, in large part, is absolutely untrue," he said. Reportedly, at one point, Smith also asked his producers to get Trump "out of his ear please."
Here is a clip from the incident
No evidence of fraudulent voting: NBC
Lester Holt of NBC also followed his colleagues from other networks. "We have to interrupt here, because the president made a number of false statements, including the notion that there has been fraudulent voting. There has been no evidence of that," Holt said. And ABC's Terry Moran commented, "This is not a reality TV show, this is an American election."
"Most dishonest speech ever"
CBS broke away from Trump's speech to focus on anchor Norah O'Donnell, who commented that Trump was "castrating the facts of the election results." CNN chose to air the speech, but the channel's reporter Daniel Dale gave his own opinion. "I've read or watched all of Trump's speeches since 2016. This is the most dishonest speech he has ever given," Dale said.
Even Fox News said Trump's claims lack evidence
Fox News, Trump's preferred channel, aired his speech with the text: TRUMP: 'THEY'RE TRYING TO STEAL THE ELECTION.' Later, John Roberts, the network's chief White House correspondent, said there was no evidence to support Trump's claims. CNN's Anderson Cooper, a staunch Trump critic, said he was behaving like "an obese turtle on his back, flailing in the hot sun, realizing his time was over."