Trump aides reportedly had to explain his 'STOP THE COUNT' demand would guarantee his loss

Business Insider US

Trump supporter
A Trump supporter protesting outside Clark County Election Department in North Las Vegas, Nevada, on November 5, 2020.

US President Donald Trump's aides had to explain to him that his impassioned call to "STOP THE COUNT" on Thursday would actually guarantee him an election loss, according to multiple reports.

On Wednesday morning, Trump baselessly claimed victory in the American presidential election, even though most states had not been called at the time. The president has since called for counting to stop, claiming without grounds that it is illegal to count mail-in ballots after Election Day.

He also tweeted on Thursday morning: "STOP THE COUNT!" 

After that tweet, Trump aides scrambled to reel in the president, telling him that calling for all counts to be stopped was extremely unwise as it would hand Biden victory, multiple reports said.

According to The Washington Post, the president's senior advisors "intervened, explaining to the president that he needed to be more precise about just which vote counts he wanted halted."

"He did not want all of the states to stop counting votes, they added, because that would lead to a Biden victory," The Post added.

Stopping the count on Thursday would see Biden win Arizona and Nevada — which, combined, are worth 17 electoral votes that would see Biden reach the 270 needed to secure the White House — but would stop any gains made by Trump in Pennsylvania, Georgia, or Michigan.

After the explanation, the aides convinced Trump to tweet "stop the fraud" instead, both The Post and NBC News reported

"The aides think fraud is a better message and are trying to get him to stick to it," NBC News wrote.

Indeed, on Thursday afternoon, the president tweeted: "STOP THE FRAUD!"

Olivia Nuzzi, the Washington correspondent for New York Magazine, tweeted a similar report on Thursday. 

"I'm told that President Trump can't get his messaging straight on counting the votes because he doesn't understand what 'stop the count' means," she wrote.

"On a call this morning, an adviser had to explain to him that if they stopped counting votes right now, he would lose the election."

In a second tweet, Nuzzi said: "Trump said he assumed people knew that by 'stop the count' he didn't mean he wanted to stop the count. The adviser had to explain to him that actually people figured he meant he wanted to stop the count when he said 'stop the count.'"

When asked "whether they understand the math in the White House" while appearing on MSNBC early Friday, Nuzzi simply replied: "No."

Trump's confusion over stopping the vote was not unique.

On Wednesday, Trump supporters were seen chanting both "count those votes" and "stop the count" outside ballot-counting sites in two different states.

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