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Trump Takes Questions From Reporters For 1st Time Since Election Day

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

President Trump took questions from reporters today for the first time since he lost the presidential election to Joe Biden. Trump spoke to troops around the world, one of his Thanksgiving traditions, and then he held forth, making it clear he is still not prepared to concede, even as more states certify their results for Biden and Trump's court challenges keep getting thrown out. Joining us now is NPR White House correspondent Franco Ordoñez. Hi, Franco.

FRANCO ORDOÑEZ, BYLINE: Hi, Ari.

SHAPIRO: What did Trump say about whether and when he'll acknowledge the reality that he lost the election?

ORDOÑEZ: Well, you know, he made very clear that he doesn't plan to concede. He was asked two times directly whether he would concede if the Electoral College formalizes the results of the election, which it will do on December 14. Here's how he responded.

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PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: It's going to be a very hard thing to concede because we know there was massive fraud.

ORDOÑEZ: He spent a lot of the 25 minutes that he talked to reporters really getting into the weeds on the allegations that his lawyers have been making about fraud. But we know there has not been massive fraud and that these claims are, well, frankly, baseless.

SHAPIRO: And when reporters pointed out that these claims of fraud keep getting thrown out in court, how did he respond?

ORDOÑEZ: Well, I mean, things got pretty testy. He shut down one reporter who questioned the merits of his claims. Take a listen.

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TRUMP: Don't talk to me that way. You're just a lightweight. Don't talk to me that - don't talk to - I'm the president of the United States. Don't ever talk to the president that way.

ORDOÑEZ: And another reporter asked him whether he would leave the White House on Inauguration Day, even if he does not concede the election. He did make clear that he will do that.

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TRUMP: Certainly, I will. Certainly, I will. And you know that. But I think that there will be a lot of things happening between now and the 20 of January - a lot of things.

ORDOÑEZ: Now, Trump acknowledged this week that the transition is moving ahead and that his administration is cooperating with the Biden team, but interestingly tonight, he said he doesn't think it's right that Joe Biden is trying to pick his Cabinet.

SHAPIRO: Now, when he says a lot of things are going to be happening between now and Inauguration Day, did he give any indication of what he's got planned?

ORDOÑEZ: Well, for the first time, he said he's going to go spend time campaigning in Georgia. He says he plans to travel there ahead of the January 5 runoff races, which are key to whether Republicans or Democrats have control of the Senate. Now, the White House says he'll go on Saturday, December 5, for a rally. And Trump says he actually might go back a second time as well. He says he wants to support Republican senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue. This is, you know, very significant because there are concerns that Trump's obsession with these baseless claims of fraud have, you know, frankly become a distraction and will hurt Republican chances in Georgia. And just to note one more thing. He didn't back down. He continued to criticize the outcome in Georgia. He called the secretary of state, a Republican, an enemy of the state. And, you know, we know that there have been two recounts in the state and there have been no signs of widespread fraud.

SHAPIRO: Along with all the other norms and traditions that have been broken, there's a question about whether Trump will attend the inauguration of his successor, Joe Biden, which is an American tradition. Did he address what his plans are for that day?

ORDOÑEZ: Well, he would not say whether he would attend the inauguration. He said he knows the answer but just didn't want to tell the reporters yet. So I imagine this is going to be a question that we will continue to be watching until that date rolls around. Another thing he declined to address - his political future after January 20. He was asked whether he would run in 2024. He said he didn't want to talk about that either.

SHAPIRO: NPR White House correspondent Franco Ordoñez, thank you.

ORDOÑEZ: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.