WASHINGTON – Donald Trump spent 10 minutes in public Wednesday honoring America's war veterans — a veneer of normalcy for a White House that's frozen by a defeated president mulling his options, mostly forgoing the mechanics of governing and blocking his inevitable successor.
Trump's appearance at the annual Veterans Day commemoration at Arlington National Cemetery was his first public outing for official business in more than a week. He's spent the past few days in private tweeting angry, unsupported claims of voter fraud.
The president has made no comments in person since Democrat Joe Biden clinched the 270 electoral votes on Saturday needed to win the presidency.
All the while, his aides grow more certain that legal challenges won’t change the outcome of the election, according to seven campaign and White House officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the thinking of the president and others in the executive mansion.
Before setting off for the solemn commemoration at Arlington, Trump took to Twitter on Wednesday to slam “fake pollsters" and grouse that a Republican city commissioner who defended the vote tabulation in Philadelphia wasn't a true Republican. He also sought to draw attention to a Pennsylvania poll worker who recanted allegations of voter fraud on Tuesday before reasserting his allegations on Wednesday.
Trump later posted a debunked video that had purported to show poll workers collecting ballots too late.
“You are looking at BALLOTS! Is this what our Country has come to?" Trump fumed.
Although his official schedule has been bare of public events, Trump has made several personnel moves — firing Defense Secretary Mark Esper and installing three staunch loyalists in top defense jobs. His pick as acting defense secretary, Christopher Miller, was among the Pentagon brass that joined him at Arlington.