Donald Trump addresses troops from the White House
Donald Trump had said Joe Biden is wrong to name his Cabinet and refused to say whether he would attend Mr Biden’s inauguration, in his first time answering questions since the election.
Mr Trump, speaking at the White House after the traditional call to troops, was still furious about the 3 November vote, saying that if the Electoral College certifies the vote “they made a mistake”.
Asked whether he would leave the White House if they do, he said he would, adding: “You know that.”
And he announced he was travelling to Georgia, likely on Saturday, to support the Republican senators Sonny Perdue and Kelly Loeffler in their January run-off.
Mr Trump on Thursday evening made his traditional call to the troops stationed around the world, contacting them via video link from the White House.
The president and first lady have skipped their usual Mar-a-Lago retreat and instead were remaining in Washington.
Mr Trump spent Thursday morning playing golf, tweeting about Fox News and gloating about his bitter rival Andrew Cuomo’s loss in the Supreme Court, after the justices ruled against his plan to limit attendance at religious services due to the pandemic.
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“HAPPY THANKSGIVING,” the president tweeted, with a link to the ruling against New York’s governor.
Joe Biden, meanwhile, is in Delaware at home and has issued a Thanksgiving message to the country he will soon lead, telling them that their sacrifice in not travelling to see relatives is their way of showing gratitude to the nation.
Sitting next to his wife Jill, Mr Biden explained that their tradition was to travel to Nantucket to be with friends and family, but instead they were having a small celebration at home.
Trump says he will leave the White House if Joe Biden is certified as the election winner
My colleague Andrew Buncombe has the full story:
Harriet Alexander26 November 2020 23:00
Trump takes his first questions since the election - and says this may not be his last Thanksgiving in the White House
Trump is alleging there was fraud in the election, without evidence, and says he’s going to Georgia on Saturday to campaign ahead of the runoff.
He says people there are “very disappointed we were robbed.”
He says this may not be his last Thanksgiving in the White House.
Harriet Alexander26 November 2020 22:40
The president greets troops in Kuwait, naval officers in the Red Sea, Space Force commanders in Colorado and members of the Coast Guard in Guantanamo Bay
Donald Trump spoke to the troops, thanking them for their service and praising them for carrying out his policy of "peace through strength".
He spoke from the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House.
The president told the troops he had obtained for them the best possible equipment, saying it was “top of the line”.
“Four years ago, we were in bad shape,” he said.
And he told them that a coronavirus vaccine was on the way, saying it had been conceived in record time.
The White House has issued a list of who he was speaking to:
Army: Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion 36th Infantry Division (HHBN 36th ID); Camp Arifjan, KU
Navy: USS WINSTON S. CHURCHILL (DDG 81); 5TH FLEET AOR; Red Sea
Marine Corps: Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force - Crisis Response - Central Command (SPMAGTF-CR-CC); Kuwait
Air Force: 386th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron and Expeditionary Readiness Squadron (386 ESFS/ERS); Ali Al Salem Air Base, Kuwait
Space Force: 11th Space Warning Squadron (Space-based Missile Warning); Buckley AFB, CO
Coast Guard: USCG Patrol Forces Southwest Asia; Kingdom of Bahrain
Harriet Alexander26 November 2020 22:29
Donald Trump calls the troops
Harriet Alexander26 November 2020 22:19
White House pushes back the call to 5pm
The Thanksgiving Video Teleconference with Members of the Military will now begin at 5:00PM.
Harriet Alexander26 November 2020 20:50
Donald Trump will make the traditional call to military members at 3pm
The president, from the White House, will make his Thanksgiving call to service members - his fourth and final one.
His first call, in November 2017, broke the mold as he spoke about tax cuts and told the troops they should be proud of the work he was doing on the economy.
“I know it’s hard to be away from home at this time of the year. We’re doing well at home,” he said.
“The economy is doing really great. When you come back, you’re going to see with the jobs and companies coming back to our country, and the stock market just hit a record high, unemployment is the lowest it’s been in 17 years, so you’re fighting for something real. You’re fighting for something good."
In 2018, he once again ripped up the playbook, using the call to rail against the judiciary and discuss the border wall.
Speaking at Mar-a-Lago, he was asked what he was thankful for and replied that he was thankful for himself.
“For having a great family and for having made a tremendous difference in this country. I’ve made a tremendous difference in the country. This country is so much stronger now than it was when I took office that you wouldn’t believe it.”
Last year the president made a surprise Thanksgiving trip to Afghanistan to greet the troops.
He dropped in unannounced on troops at Afghanistan’s Bagram military air base in his first trip to the country and only his second to a war zone during his presidency.
He served soldiers a turkey dinner and posed for selfies, before telling reporters that the United States and Taliban hoped to resume peace talks.
Donald Trump serves food to troops at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan on Thanksgiving 2019
(AFP via Getty Images)
Harriet Alexander26 November 2020 19:48
Someone in the White House has got the Thanksgiving tone right…
Harriet Alexander26 November 2020 19:21
Cuomo shrugs off Supreme Court defeat
Andrew Cuomo is downplaying the significance of a Wednesday night Supreme Court decision blocking him from enforcing attendance limits on religious institutions in Covid hot spots.
“That Supreme Court ruling on the religious gatherings is more illustrative of the Supreme Court than anything else,” the New York governor said on a Thanksgiving morning briefing call.
“It’s irrelevant from any practical impact.”
That is because the affected areas were in a “red zone” earlier in the autumn, but that has since been lifted.
Members of the New York Police Department (NYPD) check the Congregation Yetev Lev D'Satmar synagogue, reportedly the original site of the wedding of the grandchild of Zalman Leib Teitelbaum, a grand rabbi of the Satmar Hasidic Jewish congregation, which was canceled due to restrictions on public gathering during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the South Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York City, U.S., October 19, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
The Supreme Court decision came after a challenge by Catholic and Jewish organisations in Brooklyn neighbourhoods, angered by the rule that only 10 people at a time were allowed inside.
A 5-4 majority found that the limitation resulted in “disparate treatment,” as religious institutions were subjected to more stringent regulations than places like liquor stores and bike shops. Chief Justice John Roberts voted with the minority.
Those neighbourhoods have got through the worst - for now - and are allowed to operate at 50 per cent capacity.
Harriet Alexander26 November 2020 17:43
Trump wishes America a HAPPY THANKSGIVING! as he celebrates Cuomo’s loss
The president’s well-wishes to the country came, of course, with a dig.
Mr Trump tweeted “HAPPY THANKSGIVING”, in reference to a ruling by the Supreme Court against New York governor Andrew Cuomo, who wanted, for reasons of the pandemic, to limit attendance at religious services.
Mr Trump was reveling in the defeat of his eternal adversary.
Harriet Alexander26 November 2020 16:23
Joe and Jill Biden thank Americans for their sacrifice
The president-elect and his wife are spending Thanksgiving at home in Delaware, having abandoned their usual tradition of travelling to Nantucket.
“We know that a small act of staying home is a gift to our fellow Americans,” he said.
He said it was “a statement of common purpose” and thanked citizens for their service.
Jill Biden noted that many Americans had an empty seat at their family’s table this year, and told them they knew how that felt.
Harriet Alexander26 November 2020 16:03