Trump Is Losing the Election, So He’s Trying to Destroy Democracy: A Closer Look [Transcript]

Seth takes a closer look at Trump's path to reelection narrowing as the remaining swing states continue counting ballots.
Trump Is Losing the Election, So He's Trying to Destroy Democracy: A Closer Look

Late Night with Seth Meyers

Air date: November 5, 2020



The President’s path to re-election is narrowing as the remaining swing states continue counting ballots. So now his team is trying a new strategy — keep counting Trump votes, but stop counting Biden votes. For more on this, it’s time for “A Closer Look.”


It’s worth noting that we tape our show at 5:00 P.M. so we don’t know if there’s going to be a call tonight or not. But things are looking pretty good for Joe Biden. But Donald Trump, political mastermind that he is, has discovered a hack. Just declare the states you want to win and claim victory without evidence.

[News12, new Jersey] He said, quote, “We have claimed for electoral vote purposes the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, which won’t allow legal observers, the state of Georgia, and the state of North Carolina, each one of which has a big Trump lead. Additionally, we hereby claim the state of Michigan if, in fact, there was a large number of secretly dumped ballots as has been widely reported.”

I love when Trump tries to write something in legalese and ends up sounding like Bill and Ted arguing over who gets shotgun in a car. “I hereby claim the front seat for the ride to White Castle.” “Ah, but as you can see, my hand has heretofore been placed upon the exterior of the vehicle, therefore negating your verbal declaration of shotgun, and thus, your claim must be withdrawn forthwith.”

Also, I love that Trump thinks using the word “hereby” makes his tweet an official legal document. The guy’s spent most of his life in court, and that’s the only thing he learned. [As Trump] “If anyone’s giving you trouble, just throw in a ‘hereby.’ nobody comes back from that.”

And it wasn’t just Trump. Everyone in and around his campaign, from his weird adult sons, to his campaign manager, tried to just claim victory in Pennsylvania without any evidence before the votes had been counted.

[CBSN, New York] White House Spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany tweeted, “Victory for President in Pennsylvania.”

[Eric Trump] We’ve declared victory in Pennsylvania.

[Bill Stepien, Trump 2020 Campaign Manager] We are declaring a victory in Pennsylvania.

Oh, you’re declaring victory in Pennsylvania? Okay. Well, I’m declaring myself King of the Andals and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, and Protector of the Realm and my first official act is not sending that dragon to fight the Night King. Also, can someone tell me again how Bran got elected? Did Westeros also have an electoral college? Were there a lot of Bran fans in Maricopa County? “And again, you have to remember, we expect Maricopa to break late for Bran.”

Anyway, the point is, you don’t just get to declare victory in any state, and no one cares that you did. I mean, I guess we have to care a little bit because you’re the President, and you wield an insane amount of power. But ideally, you know, we’d just ignore you. When someone gets on the subway and declares themself king of the F Train and demands tribute, you don’t stand up and start arguing with them, saying, “Actually, according to MTA bylaws, none of the trains have monarchs.” You just turn up the volume on your AirPods. No one’s buying these false declarations of victory, in part because even the Trump team can’t keep their bullshit straight. In Pennsylvania, they want to stop the count while they’re ahead. In Arizona, however, they’re suddenly concerned that the counting will stop while they’re behind. If you thought Trump ghouls have plumbed the depths of their shamelessness, think again, because here’s Kellyanne Conway and Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Fox News this morning claiming that when it comes to states Trump is losing, we should take our time, after months of insisting ballots should not be counted after election day.

[Sarah Sanders, Former White House Press Secretary] Arizona and Pennsylvania, I think, are key for the President. And those are both places where he still has a path to victory. And so I think it is incredibly too early for them to make that type of announcement, because we’ve still got votes left to be counted and I think that has to be completed before we can determine who the winner is.

[Kellyanne Conway, Former Counselor to the President] We spent three years — they spent three years investigating the President, impeaching the President. We can’t wait three hours, three days, three weeks to get a result in our great sturdy democracy as to whom the next President will be? I mean, what is the rush?

Yeah, what’s the rush? Let’s take our time! Three hours, three days, three weeks, three years! Let’s take our time to figure this out, because if Donald Trump is known for one thing, it’s patience. Trump is the least patient man alive. You can tell because even when he’s standing still, he sways back and forth like a fourth grader posing for a school photo. “I mean, is your bladder full? Is you have to go, go.” We’re going to find out years later that Trump held it in the whole time he was in office. [As Trump] “I can only go in my gold toilet at home.”

That’s right. After months of claiming any delay in counting would be suspicious, and they wanted all the votes counted and declared on election night, now they want us all to take our time and make sure every vote is counted, which is correct. We agree. Count every vote, everywhere. In reality, of course, they’ll just switch to whatever position suits their political interest. Next, they’re gonna argue we should wait four years to count and let Trump crash with Joe at the White House in the meantime. [As Trump] “We’re out of toilet paper, Joe.” [As Biden] “It’s noon. What are you doing out here in your bath robe?” [As Trump] “I was watching Fox News. They think you stink.” [As Biden] “I’m trying to work here.” [As Trump] “Yeah, I had this job. It’s the worst.”

You almost got to applaud their ability to pivot on a dime from one brazen lie to another contradictory lie. But hey, you heard it. The President’s closest and most trusted advisers, let’s take our time and count all the votes, and we agree — count every vote, in every state, everywhere. I am so glad that’s settled. [Typing] Oh. Oh my God. That’s weird. Okay, I hear typing. Almost as if someone is angrily tweeting, misspelling it, and then tweeting it again.

[Eyewitness News] President Trump there tweeted, “Stop the count.”

Oh, no! But what about Kellyanne Conway’s credibility? How will we ever believe anything she says ever again? That tweet came like an hour after Conway and the other Trump hacks were all over Fox News claiming that actually we need to keep counting all the ballots. Trying to stay on message with Trump is like trying to ride a mechanical bull slathered in olive oil. And then again, today, Trump tried to use his magical powers of tweeting to declare, without any basis in law whatsoever, that ballots postmarked by election day, but received after election day should not be counted. And once again, as they’ve done with many of his deranged tweets, Twitter censored it because it was a lie.

[CBS New York] Mail-in ballot counting continues in Philadelphia, despite President Trump’s tweet saying, “Any vote that came in after election day will not be counted.”

Sorry, bud, that’s not up to you. That’s like me saying, “Any writer who leaves before 5:00 will not be paid.” I mean, they all do it anyway. At least the ones who are sober enough to make it to the subway. True story, my writers don’t even know we do interviews on this show.

But I have to say, it will be fun to see if Trump keeps trying his magic Twitter powers after he leaves office. [As Trump] “Any guac added at Chipotle will be free of charge!”

There are many states, including swing states, where as long as your ballot is postmarked on or before the election, it can be counted afterward. Those states include Pennsylvania and North Carolina, but there are also a bunch of heavily Republican states that do the same thing, like Mississippi, North Dakota, Iowa, Texas, Ohio, West Virginia, Utah, and Alaska. Of course, in Alaska they have to give you extra time, because the mail there is delivered via malamute. And this is a real tangent, but all day long I’ve read that line and thought it should be a lyric in a Beastie Boys song. ♪ I get all my mail delivered by a malamute ♪

Also, I gotta say that it’s so great Trump is spending the days after the election with basically his entire Twitter feed censored. It’s like taking away Zorro’s sword. Without it, he’s just a creepy dude with a mustache and a cape. “Yeah, Officer, I’d like to report a weird man who just fogged up my window and drew a ‘Z’ with his finger.” I wish we could slap the Twitter warning label on Trump’s mouth whenever he talks. [No Audio]

To be clear, there’s no evidence for fraud anywhere. The best they can come up with is a dumb and obviously fake Internet rumor claiming Arizona officials duped Trump voters into filling out ballots with Sharpie, knowing that Sharpie would be disqualified, which it’s not. “Allies of President Trump are promoting a baseless conspiracy theory that poll workers tricked Trump voters by providing them with Sharpies to cast their votes and then rejected the ballots due to the use of the marker.” It must be so hard for the Trump administration to pretend to be anti-Sharpie. It’s what he used to white his inauguration speech. It’s also what he uses to sign boobs and control the weather. I’m pretty sure it’s what Rudy uses to get hyped up for his Fox appearances.

Second, my favorite thing about this is even their best attempt at claiming fraud involves admitting that they’re easily tricked doofuses. What happened? Did a guy in a white van pull up and say, “Hey, you going to vote for President? You wanna do it with a Sharpie? Ooh, you using a pen, square?”

There’s no evidence of fraud in Pennsylvania either, where they’re literally just counting the ballots that have been legitimately cast, as they always do. And you can tell even the Trump team is struggling to keep up this line of BS because they’re getting challenged on their favorite TV channel, Fox News, as White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany discovered on Wednesday.

[Fox News]
[Kayleigh McEnany] We have election days in this country for a reason. It’s because votes are counted on election day. So we are fighting for the American people to know sooner rather than later. We want the votes to be counted.

[Martha MacCallum] But Kayleigh, we always have had provisional ballots and military ballots that get counted later. The votes have to be in by November 3rd, that was what their state legislature and their court system — -Postmarked. -…agreed to, that it had to be postmarked by November 3rd and then counted. So the voting is happening on election day.

[Kayleigh McEnany] And the legislature, you’re right, determines the time, the manner and the place in which an election happens. We believe every vote on election day should be counted. But it’s those that arrive after the election day that we are fighting in court.

[Martha MacCallum] Even if they already voted on November 3rd, which is the postmark?

[Kayleigh McEnany] We are fighting for those that are after November 3rd. We want election day ballots to be counted.

♪ Yeah, and I got more lies than Kayleigh McEnany ♪ [Laughter] First of all, I love how her only move is to just keep nodding her head, even while she’s being fact checked, as if the anchors disproving her lies are actually agreeing with her. It’s like watching a drunk person argue with a cop. “Ma’am, did you know you were swerving between lanes?” “Yes, yes, Officer, I was changing lanes.” “You almost hit a tree, ma’am.” “Yes. Yeah, I was trying to park in the woods.”

The Trump campaign is desperate to manufacture some non-existent fraud in order to steal the election, so they sent their best man to Philadelphia, the Italian Ziggy, Rudy Giuliani. Rudy held a press conference in Philadelphia yesterday where he claimed, with zero evidence, there was fraud happening, and that Democrats were somehow stealing the election by, again, just counting the votes.

[Rudy Giuliani] How many votes do we have to be ahead? 400,000’s not enough? With 80-plus percent counted? I think there’s only 14% of the vote to go. Do you think we’re stupid? Do you think we’re fools?

Uh, yeah. Hard yes on both counts. It’s like when a metal band takes the stage and asks if you’re ready to rock. You don’t really have to ask. I wouldn’t have bought Megadeth tickets if I was looking for a quiet night of reflection, man. No offense, Rudy, but I don’t trust you to tell us who’s up and who’s down, since you don’t know the difference between up and down.

[Rudy Giuliani] From the top to the bottom, from the middle to the side.

Can you imagine how confusing it must be when he reports back to Trump? “Great news, Donald, you’re up here, while Biden’s down here. Now if you need me, I’ll be in the middle.” Seriously, Rudy, it might be time to pack it in. Or, in your case, tuck it in. Man, every time Rudy sees that clip, he must think, [As Borat] “[Bleep] my life!” [Laughter] That was for Shoemaker. You know the funny thing about Shoemaker, he doesn’t like Borat, he just likes when people do the impression. [Laughter]

Again, Rudy just made up a bunch of lies without any evidence at all. He claimed mail-in ballots, which we’ve been counting since the Civil War, were a new thing and somehow fraudulent, that voters were being bussed in from other states, that Joe Biden himself somehow voted 50 times, and even that dead people might be voting.

[Rudy Giuliani] This whole new thing that never happened before in our country, these mail-in ballots, which has been a cause of real concern for everyone, because they can easily be fraudulent. And you have a reputation of people being bussed in from Camden voting here. Wouldn’t be the first time that happened. Joe Biden could have voted 50 times as far as we know, or 5,000 times. Philadelphia, unfortunately, and I would say this about my own city, has a reputation for voter fraud. You have a reputation for dead people voting. And we’re gonna go look at just how many dead people voted here.

Of course Rudy thinks dead people voted. He voted. “We have proof that dead people are voting. I just went to a polling place yesterday, and they let me in, even after I blew a zero on the thermometer. And we need voter I.D. laws, nobody even checked my toe tag.” How are you gonna look at how many dead people voted? Are you gonna go to the morgue and see if any of the corpses are wearing stickers? “Boss, I found another one.”

All of this is so dumb and transparent, but unfortunately, it has consequences. Trump supporters believe this stuff, which is why one of them crashed a press conference in Nevada yesterday screaming that Joe Biden was stealing the election.

As I mentioned, we are not prepared to give that number now.

[Trump supporter] The Biden crime family is stealing the election! The media is covering up! The Biden crime family is stealing this election! The media is covering it up! The Biden crime family’s stealing this election! The media’s covering it up. We want our freedom for the world! Give us our freedom, Joe Biden! Biden’s covering up this election, he’s stealing it! [Camera shutters click]

Where were we? What was the last question?

I mean, that’s fantastic how he finishes screaming and just walks away like a guy complaining about his order at the deli. “I said, ‘No mustard!’ no mustard!'” [Laughter] It’s so hard to take your claims of voter fraud seriously when you’re wearing a tank top that looks like you won it in a wing-eating contest. You’re not allowed to make legal claims when you’re not wearing sleeves. “And can we assume you’re from the law firm of Barbecue, Beer, and Freedom?” “Oh, it’s actually Barbecue, Beer, Freedom, and Leibowitz.” I mean, look at your outfit. You look like Mike Scollins in a Zoom meeting. [Laughter] That joke made my writing staff very happy. Well, almost all of them.

So Trump, Kellyanne Conway, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Kayleigh McEnany, Rudy Giuliani, none of them keep their stories straight, which is why even the crowds of Trump supporters harassing and intimidating poll workers can’t keep their stories straight either. In Michigan, where Trump started out ahead, they called on poll workers to stop counting votes. But in Arizona, where Trump is behind, they called for the opposite.

Truly, we are a nation divided. I don’t think Trump voters actually know what they’re chanting. I just think they love to chant. “Build that wall.” “Lock ’em up.” “Count the votes.” “Stop the count.” It doesn’t actually matter, they just love three-word phrases. If we could just send in the Barbecue, Beer, and Freedom guy and have him do a keg stand, they’d quickly switch to chanting, “Drink that beer! Drink that beer!” Personally, I think the best chance we have for distracting these Trump supporters and keeping them away from poll workers is to just sic them on each other and let them shout back and forth.

Stop the count.
Count those votes.
Stop the count.
Count the votes.
Stop the count.
Count those votes.

And then we can just leave them there to yell at each other for four years while the rest of us get on with our lives. This is a dangerous moment. The President and his supporters telegraphed for weeks that they would try to steal the election, and now they’re doing it. We can’t let them. We have to count every ballot, in every state, everywhere…

[Rudy Giuliani] From the top to the bottom, from the middle to the side.

This has been “A Closer Look.”


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