Donald Trump faced an instant backlash after delivering a rambling address at the White House littered with lies about election fraud and winning the vote.
Using the pomp of the White House briefing room as his backdrop, the US president made a series of statements – sometimes incomprehensible – as his chances of re-election were in peril.
“If you count the legal votes, I easily win,” Trump falsely claimed, adding without evidence that there had been “historical interference from big media, big money and big tech”.
Major TV networks in Australia and abroad responded to Trump’s speech, with some in the US immediately cutting their coverage as Trump raised non-specific issues with postal voting. He referred to “a pipe burst”, “people are using binoculars” and “paper on all of the windows”.
Australia’s ABC reporter Michael Rowland said Trump made “dubious points” throughout the press conference and that his “heart really wasn’t in it”.
“It reminded me of a rock group who has been on the scene for decades going up, hauling their weary backsides onto the stage, going through that set list of hits and memories, but their heart not being in it,” he said from Washington DC.
“Wrong cords, missing notes, and I really got the impression that Donald Trump’s heart really wasn’t in it, and deep in his heart he knows just where the final results are going.”
Meanwhile in the US, CNN’s Anderson Cooper likened Trump to “an obese turtle on his back flailing in the hot sun”.
“That is the president of the United States. That is the most powerful person in the world, and we see him like an obese turtle on his back flailing in the hot sun, realising his time is over,” Cooper said.
“He just hasn’t accepted it and he wants to take everybody down with him, including this country.”
Referring to legally permissible observers, the US president claimed that when observers arrived, they were told to be “100 feet away” from the count.
“When the observers got there, they wanted them 60, 70 feet away, 80 feet, 100 feet away, or outside the building, to observe people inside the building”, he told reporters.
On the postal vote system, Trump added: “I’ve been talking about mail-in voting for a long time. It’s really destroyed our system, it’s a corrupt system.”
The press conference was the first for Trump since early Wednesday, when he addressed the media as the first wave of election results was being reported.
Trump at the time baselessly declared victory and falsely claimed he’d already won several states in which a clear winner had yet to be determined. He also, without evidence, suggested that the ongoing counting of votes amounted to “fraud” and should be halted.
Since then, the Trump campaign has filed lawsuits in several states to halt vote counting and disqualify ballots. Judges in at least two states have ruled against his campaign.
The presidential election remains too close to call after polls closed on Tuesday, but former vice-president Mr Biden remains the favourite after winning three key battleground states.
Pennsylvania was expecting to announce its result by the end of the day. If it goes to Mr Biden, so would the White House.
Never miss a thing. Sign up to HuffPost Australia’s weekly newsletter for the latest news, exclusives and guides to achieving the good life.