Trump finally admits he lost the election but still falsely says it was ‘rigged’

Conversation came ahead of publication of book about his presidency

Gino Spocchia
Tuesday 05 April 2022 20:38 BST
Trump finally admits he lost the election
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Donald Trump was apparently caught admitting that he lost the 2020 US presidential election to Joe Biden in a Zoom meeting last summer, according to a video recirculated in recent days.

The former US president was speaking with a group of Princeton University historians in July 2021 when he appeared to admit to losing the 2020 election to Mr Biden, whom he accuses of “stealing” the vote.

Mr Trump said of South Korean president Moon Jae-In, Chinese premier Xi Jinping and Iran’s president Ebrahim Raisi: “By not winning the election, he was the happiest man – I would say, in order, China was – no, Iran was the happiest”.

“He was going to pay $5bn, $5bn a year. But when I didn’t win the election, he had to be the happiest – I would rate, probably, South Korea third or fourth happiest, said Mr Trump of his attempt at pressuring Seoul into spending more on its military.

As The Atlantic reported on Sunday, the Republican impersonated Mr Moon during the interview, in which he admitted to losing the election at least twice. The video is still available to watch online. Mr Trump also said he believed the election was “rigged”, a false claim he has often repeated in the wake of his electoral defeat.

During the meeting, Mr Trump also said of the now-cancelled Nord Stream 2 pipeline between Russia and Germany: “So we had a deal, would have happened, all set, and then when the election was rigged and lost, what happened is that the deal went away.”

The call was carried out by Princeton University professor Julian E Zelizer,who described the exchange with Mr Trump as an attempt “to influence the narratives being written about him”. He is the author of an upcoming book, The Presidency of Donald J. Trump: A First Historical Assessment.

Former US president Donald Trump speaking in July 2021 (Princeton University Library)

Mr Trump has long accused Democrats of “rigging” the vote in 2020 and even pressured his own vice president, Mike Pence, into overturing the election during a special joint session of Congress on 6 January 2021. He has however rubbished those claims.

January 2021 when the US Capitol was attacked by his supporters, many of them with allegations that the election was “stolen” from them, in events that lead to Mr Trump to becoming the first US president to be impeached twice by the House of Representatives.

Mr Trump’s attorney general, Bill Bar, meanwhile confirmed there was no evidence of election rigging and a number of lawsuits filed by pro-Trump lawyers failed on every attempt to overturn the result from 2020.

The Independent has reached out to Mr Trump for comment.

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