NEW YORK – ABC, CBS and NBC all cut away from President Donald Trump on Thursday as he spoke from the White House to make an unfounded accusation that the presidential election was being stolen from him.
Trump had tried to commandeer the nation's airwaves at a time when the evening newscasts are shown on the East Coast, after a day when the slow drip of vote counting revealed his leads in Pennsylvania and Georgia dwindling.
MSNBC's Brian Williams also interrupted the president. Fox News Channel and CNN aired the president's full address, after which CNN's Anderson Cooper said Trump was “like an obese turtle on his back, flailing in the hot sun realizing his time was over.”
Network personalities had sharply criticized Trump after his angry, middle-of-the-night speech following Election Day but aired that talk in full. Trump was more subdued Thursday, yet offered a litany of complaints about “suppression” polls, mail-in voting and fraud that he never specified.
“We have to interrupt here, because the president has made a number of false statements, including the notion that there has been fraudulent voting,” said NBC's Lester Holt. “There has been no evidence of that.”
CBS' Norah O'Donnell broke in to ask correspondent Nancy Cordes to fact-check Trump's assertion that if “legal votes” were counted, he would easily win the election. Cordes said there is no indication of a substantive number of illegal votes cast, and said Trump's reference to votes arriving late was “another falsehood.”
MSNBC cut away from Trump to anchor Brian Williams.
“Here we are again in the unusual position of not only interrupting the president of the United States but correcting the president of the United States,” he said. “There are no illegal votes that we know of, there has been no Trump victory that we know of.”