Did Trump Tweet That the Supreme Court ‘Should Decide the Presidency at Every Election’ and ‘Bad Votes’ Shouldn’t Count?
On September 24 2020, a Facebook user shared a purported screenshot of a tweet by United States President Donald Trump in which he purportedly said that the Supreme Court “should decide the presidency at every election”:
A date and timestamp read 5:40 PM on September 23 2020, and the tweet read:
Not fair for a president to leave office because of BAD votes! The Supreme Court should decide the presidency at every election. And the president should always be president because that’s what the American people want! #yourpresident
At around the same time, the hashtag #TrumpCoupPlot trended on Twitter; multiple networks reported that Trump would not commit to a peaceful transfer of power:
Trump on peaceful transition if he loses: ‘Get rid of the ballots’ and ‘there won’t be a transfer’
President Donald Trump was asked Wednesday [September 23 2020] whether he would commit to a peaceful transfer of power should he lose this fall to Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. The president declined to do so.
“Well, we’re going to have to see what happens,” Trump said. “You know that I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots, and the ballots are a disaster.”
Pressed further, Trump said: “We’ll want to have — get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a very — we’ll have a very peaceful — there won’t be a transfer, frankly. There’ll be a continuation.”
When asked by Fox News’ Chris Wallace in June  whether he would accept the election results, Trump said he would “have to see” and claimed that mail-in voting will “rig the election.”
On first glance, the tweet appeared to be part of ongoing discussions about the 2020 election. However, on the morning of September 24 2020, this tweet did not appear on Trump’s timeline, even when “replies” were included. A broad search for the verbiage “[the] Supreme Court should decide the presidency at every election” did not return any results, from President Trump or any other user. A possibility remained that Trump deleted the tweet very quickly after sending it.
However, Pro Publica’s Politwoops archived all tweets deleted by lawmakers and public officials, including Trump. The most recently deleted tweet as of September 24 2020 was from four days previously, and it had nothing to do with the Supreme Court:
I gave no choice! QT @realDonaldTrump: [email protected] We were put in this position of power and importance to make decisions for the people who so proudly elected… https://t.co/qIVpFfJmpq)Deleted after 21 minutes at 10:04 AM on 20 Sep.
There was no record of the “Supreme Court” tweet ever existing, either on September 23 2020 or any other date.
Amid discourse on September 23 2020 (and the #TrumpCoupPlot hashtag’s popularity), a screenshot purportedly showed Trump saying in a tweet: “Not fair for a president to leave office because of BAD votes! The Supreme Court should decide the presidency at every election. And the president should always be president because that’s what the American people want!”
However, this tweet was fabricated.