Donald Trump will 'do the right thing' as lawyers abandon Arizona lawsuit

14 November 2020, 08:04

Donald Trump has come close to admitting defeat in the US election
Donald Trump has come close to admitting defeat in the US election. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Donald Trump has told an American talk show host he is a "realist" who will do the "right thing" following the US election result.

The president had a candid and "heartfelt" phone call with regular Fox News contributor Geraldo Rivera during which he appeared to come close to admitting he will concede to Joe Biden.

Rivera told his Twitter followers Mr Trump remained committed to fighting for every vote and that his strategy for losing will include "talking more about all he's accomplished".

However, Rivera explained that the incumbent US leader wants to see what every state does in terms of certification before recognising the result.

The talk show host also said Mr Trump appeared to know that overturning the election was a "longshot".

He wrote: "Just had heartfelt phone call w friend @realDonaldTrump who said he's a "realist" who'll do the"right thing" But he wants to see "what states do in terms of certifiction (etc)" He sounded committed to fighting for every vote & if he loses, talking more about all he's accomplished."

Read more: Donald Trump says 'time will tell' who will occupy White House

Read more: Top officials say 3 November election ‘most secure’ in US history

Responding to an American radio station on Twitter, Mr Rivera added: "Hi I spoke with my friend @realDonaldTrump this morning. He was trying to reach me during the live broadcast.

"He told me he was a 'realist' who would 'do the right thing,' when all the legitimate votes have been counted."

It comes as his campaign rolls back its planned lawsuit for Arizona, where they had hoped to see a hand recount of ballots after American news networks called the race for Mr Biden.

But the Democrat's lead now exceeds the outstanding number of ballots left to count in the state and the dropping of the legal challenge suggest the president's team acknowledges Arizona has turned Blue.

Mr Rivera said that during his conversation with Mr Trump, the outgoing leader "seemed particularly aggrieved by the savage attacks on his presidency from the minute he was elected" and that "he reserved special scorn for the phony Russia hoax & Pelosi-driven phony #Impeachment".

Read more: Joe Biden becomes first Democrat to win Georgia since 1992

Read more: Trump presidency 'racist reaction to black US leader - Obama

He added: "He (Trump) seemed like a heavyweight champion who is behind in points leading into the final round, but determined to fight on, knowing all the refs have scored the fight for the other guy.

"Still, he's going to answer the final bell, looking for the knockout he knows is a longshot."

The exchange came just hours before the president said "time will tell" who will occupy the White House in his first speech since the election was called for Mr Biden.

He also vowed not to impose a nationwide coronavirus lockdown, after a Biden adviser said it may be the only option to tackle Covid.

Mr Trump said: "This administration will not go to a lockdown… who knows which administration it will be, time will tell."

The president then said: "The cure cannot be worse than the disease."