WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump falsely claimed early Wednesday that he had won the presidential election despite millions of legitimate votes not counting and half a dozen battlefield states still not being called.
"A very sad group of people are trying to withdraw their license [people who voted for me] and we will not stand up for it," Trump told supporters in the White House shortly before 2:30 p.m.
More than an hour earlier, Democrat Joe Biden told supporters he was confident he would win the presidential election and urged Americans to be patient.
In his comments on the east wing, Trump said, "We were preparing for a big celebration. We won everything and suddenly it was just canceled."
"We're going to go to the US Supreme Court, we want all votes to stop," Trump continued more than an hour after the last US polls in Alaska were completed. "We don't want them to find ballots at 4 a.m. and add them to the list."
It was unclear what Trump meant by "going to the Supreme Court" as the country's highest court is rarely the first place of jurisdiction for a case, but rather reviews decisions of the lower court.
The White House referred CNBC to the Trump campaign when asked about Trump's proposal to include the Supreme Court in the election. The campaign did not immediately respond to the request.
"This is a scam for the American public. This is an embarrassment for our country," Trump said in his expansive statement.
"It's a very sad moment for me, a very sad moment and we're going to win that," he said. "In my opinion we have already won this. I would like to thank all supporters and everyone who worked with us."
Trump's election night victory claim, however, was not a spontaneous response to favorable results in key states as he would have people believe.
Instead, months have passed. Leaving Biden behind in polls, Trump has attempted to undermine confidence in the multi-day voting process and to lay the foundation for insisting that the only valid election results were those counted on election night.
Since the coronavirus pandemic required millions of Americans to vote by mail this year, Trump has also worked to sow doubts about the integrity of the mail-in voting.
He's shared outlandish conspiracies about changing postal ballot papers somewhere on the way from the voter to the local electoral board.
He has also expanded on isolated reports of misplaced or rejected ballots, claiming that these anecdotal events were symptomatic of something much larger than a few votes.
In September, Trump confiscated a report on nine ballot papers discarded along a Pennsylvania freeway, claiming they were evidence that Democrats were trying to "steal" his elections.
"They're kicking them out if they're named Trump I think," Trump said of the ballot papers, some of which were blank and some of which were filled out for Trump.
In reality, Pennsylvania voters are well on their way to casting more than 5 million votes this year, making the fate of just nine ballot papers statistically insignificant.
But it's not just Trump alone making wild claims without getting their way.
Trump's re-election campaign and the Republican National Committee have spent millions of dollars this year challenging individual states' efforts to expand mail-in voting in response to the pandemic.
Pennsylvania, Iowa, Nevada, New Jersey, and Montana are just a few of the states Trump's attorneys have gone to court to prevent the mail-in voting from expanding.
Their arguments were often limited to the same unsubstantiated fraud allegations that Trump himself made, and as a result, they have seen their claims dismissed by state and federal judges.
The President's willingness to undermine a cornerstone of democracy – the integrity of the individual vote – goes back much further than it did this year.
During his first presidential campaign, Trump reinforced and spread false claims that the election would be "rigged" in favor of Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Back then, it wasn't postal ballot papers that Trump claimed were the culprits. Instead, it was undocumented immigrants who somehow cast millions of illegal ballots for Clinton.
Even after Trump won the electoral college list in November 2016, he continued to insist that the election had been compromised by fraud.
"In addition to winning the electoral college in a landslide, I won the referendum if you subtract the millions of people who voted illegally," Trump tweeted in late November 2016.
For the past four years, professional fact-checkers have consistently refuted Trump's claims about rigged elections.
But so far that hasn't stopped Trump.