Donald Trump on election challenge: ‘Never bet against me’

US President Donald Trump laid out a detailed scenario in which he believes he can wrest an election victory from President-elect Joe Biden, declaring “Never bet against me.”

Trump, who has not conceded the race nor has spoken publicly since November 5, described during a Thursday phone call with conservative Washington Examiner columnist Byron York how he sees recounts and litigation changing the outcome in his favour.

“We’re going to win Wisconsin,” he told York, even though he is behind by just more than 20,000 votes out of nearly 3.3 million cast. It is expected Trump will call for a recount there next week. In 2016, Trump won Wisconsin by 22,478 votes out of almost three million cast and a recount that year affected only 131 votes – in his favour.

“Arizona – it’ll be down to 8,000 votes, and if we can do an audit of the millions of votes, we’ll find 8,000 votes easy. If we can do an audit, we’ll be in good shape there,” Trump continued.

He expressed confidence he will win Georgia after the hand recount of votes that is set to begin there in the coming days. “We’re down to about 10,000, 11,000 votes, and we have hand counting.”

With Michigan and Pennsylvania, “the two big states”, Trump explained his chances hinge on a series of lawsuits his campaign has filed.

While most Republicans are giving Trump the runway to let his challenges play out, most election law experts and legal observers argue that Trump’s legal claims are baseless and are destined to fail. And it is not just legal experts who are not giving Trump much of a chance.

The conservative York called it “definitely an optimistic scenario – and one at odds with the current state of the race” and added, “indeed, the picture looks bleak for the president”.

Karl Rove, former President George W Bush’s campaign manager during the contested 2000 presidential election that ended up in Bush’s favour, wrote this week in the Wall Street Journal about Trump’s manoeuvres: “certainly they’re not enough to change the final outcome”.

“To win, Mr. Trump must prove systemic fraud, with illegal votes in the tens of thousands. There is no evidence of that so far,” Rove argued.