While the nation suffered its highest coronavirus death toll for a single day on Wednesday, President Donald Trump was waging war on democracy and preaching false claims about election fraud to a packed crowd at an indoor Hanukkah party at the White House.
“All I ask for is people with wisdom and with courage, that’s all,” Trump, who was not wearing a mask, told the crowd, according to a tweeted video of the event. “Because if certain very important people, if they have wisdom and if they have courage, we’re going to win this election in a landslide.”
Wednesday’s White House holiday party coincided with the United States surpassing previous records for the number of people who have died in a single day due to the coronavirus. Roughly 3,140 people died due to COVID-19 on Wednesday and another 106,000 were hospitalized for the virus as hospitals buckle under the pressure to accommodate new patients as the virus surges.
More than 100 guests attended each of two Hanukkah parties on Wednesday, the Times of Israel reported.
The news of the packed event comes after the White House was widely criticized for hosting large holiday festivities in spite of warnings from the Trump administration’s own public health experts to avoid large groups and limit travel. Officials said they would adhere to safety measures, while allowing more than 50 attendees.
Rather than address a crisis that has crushed grim records at an accelerated pace in recent weeks, Trump falsely said again that he won the election, declaring that victory was on its way even as his improbable court efforts to overturn election results have been repeatedly shot down.
Courts have repeatedly ruled that the president’s campaign has not presented evidence supporting its baseless claims of fraud and wrongdoing. Election results have now been certified in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
But Trump, refusing to acknowledge reality, told partygoers he had beat Biden “in a much easier way” than he won over Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in 2016. He touted to partygoers a lawsuit from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) seeking to toss out election results in four battleground states bested by President-elect Joe Biden who broke records by securing 81 million votes — the most ever for a presidential candidate.