President Donald Trump’s unprecedented attempt to defy the results of the US election were thrown into fresh disarray Wednesday when he abruptly canceled a trip reportedly meant to showcase his grievances with an appearance at the epic Civil War battlefield of Gettysburg.
Officially, Trump had nothing on his schedule but US media reports quoted officials saying that he planned an impromptu trip there — his first outside the Washington area since losing his reelection to Democrat Joe Biden.
Secret Service agents had reportedly shut down a hotel in the small Pennsylvania town, the site of a turning point in the Civil War where President Abraham Lincoln’s North defeated the secessionist Southern forces.
A pool of journalists was gathered to accompany Trump from the White House to Pennsylvania but was told at the last minute that their trip was off.
According to CNN and other US media reports, Trump planned to join his controversial lawyer Rudy Giuliani and state Republicans who were holding an unofficial “hearing” on their fraud claims in Gettysburg.
Building his brand ahead of a new campaign might be one explanation for the real estate tycoon’s dogged pursuit of such a lost cause.
Giuliani and other Trump lawyers have seen baseless challenges to the vote counts thrown out by courts across the country.
And while Trump is alleging — among other evidence-free conspiracy theories — that voting machines deliberately deleted millions of his votes, the government election security agency declared this “the most secure” election in US history.
After coming under pressure from a slowly building trickle of senior Republicans, Trump on Monday ended his blockade of government assistance to ease Biden’s preparation for assuming the presidency on January 20.
But Trump has yet to take even the simplest steps in the normal post-election protocol, starting with a phone call to Biden.
“No, I have not heard anything from President Trump,” Biden told NBC News.
Given Trump’s threats before the election not to recognize the results, Biden told NBC he is “not surprised by the response of the president.”
Since the election, Trump has largely disappeared from his usual work schedule and has not once taken questions from journalists.
However, adding to the sense that he is focused on preparing his next political act, he continues to raise money from supporters contributing to an “Official Election Defense Fund.”
Much of that money does not go to the lawyers promoting his fraud allegations but is instead being funneled into paying off 2020 campaign debts and building a future war chest with Trump’s political action committee.
Kate Bedingfield, a Biden spokeswoman, said the outgoing president was now the last person to accept the reality of the election.
“Virtually everyone on Earth has accepted that truth except for Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani,” she said.
“The Trump campaign has been laughed out of every courtroom, with their meritless and baseless lawsuits meant to undermine the will of the American people. This is a sideshow.”