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US President Donald Trump was golfing in Virginia on Saturday morning (US time) when the TV networks finally called the election in favour of his rival, former vice-president Joe Biden.
As observers of Trump's tumultuous presidency would expect, the Republican was unable to accept the result gracefully. After arriving back at the White House a few hours later, he took to Twitter, a tool that he has elevated to new heights for its use in political communication in recent years, to outline his grievances.
8.53am AEDT (4.53pm, Washington, US)
In his first tweet after losing the election, Trump posted in full caps, insisting "I won the election" and that "bad things happened".
The tweet, stamped with a warning label by Twitter, included previously discounted claims about the access of Republican observers to election counting rooms, and a misleading claim about the fairness of mail-in ballots, which were sent to electors in nine US states due to the coronavirus and later verified.
A minute later, Trump followed this with another Tweet.
Unlike most of his other recent tweets, this one is not flagged by Twitter as it is factually correct. Trump may take some consolation from the fact that in a hotly contested election that attracted the highest turnout in 120 years, he collected almost 71 million votes (the count shortly after his tweet was up to 70,686,229), a tally that is indeed the most received by a sitting president. Unfortunately for Trump, Biden has received more than 75 million, and as counting continues the popular vote margin is growing. So, despite collecting the most votes by a sitting president, Trump will be the first in 28 years to be turfed out of the White House in lieu of a second term.
2.36am (10.36am, Washington time)
Earlier, as US networks were preparing to call the election for Biden based on the growing margin in Pennsylvania, Trump's anger was made clear in a short tweet.
The clearly false claim that he had won, flagged as such by Twitter, would be Trump's final post before Biden was declared the election's winner.
A few minutes earlier, Trump had attempted to cast doubt on the election result by sharing an election conspiracy theory from far-right news website, Breitbart News.
The story is based on claims from Michigan Republican Party chairwoman Laura Cox that software errors had caused votes to be incorrectly counted, claims that have been widely discounted.
Ahead of the looming election result, the President spruiked a media event by his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani in Philadelphia. Trump first tweeted it would be at the Four Seasons, before later sending further tweets clarifying it would not be at the luxury hotel but instead in the car park of a landscaping business also named Four Seasons.
Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, a lawyer for President Donald Trump, speaks during a news conference on legal challenges to vote counting in Pennsylvania at Four Seasons landscaping in Philadelphia. Credit:AP
Trump Biden 2020
Understand the election result and its aftermath with expert analysis from US correspondent Matthew Knott. Sign up to The Sydney Morning Herald‘s newsletter here, The Age‘s here, Brisbane Times‘ here and WAtoday‘s here.
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