Trump briefly admits election defeat, clings to flailing legal strategy

President Donald Trump on Sunday briefly acknowledged losing the US election in a morning Twitter post but then backtracked, saying he concedes "nothing" and vowing to keep up a court fight that election-law experts say is unlikely to succeed.

President-elect Joe Biden focused on the coronavirus pandemic, setting meetings with vaccine developers as the crisis intensifies. The number of US coronavirus cases passed 11 million on Sunday, a million more new cases than a week ago and the fastest increase since the pandemic began.

Biden defeated Trump in the Nov. 3 election by the same 306-232 margin in the state-by-state Electoral College that Trump proclaimed a "landslide" when he won it in 2016. The Democratic former vice president also won the national popular vote by at least 5.5 million votes, or 3.6 percentage points, with some ballots still being counted.

Trump, pursuing long-shot litigation to contest election results in several states, made conflicting comments on Twitter. He initially appeared to admit for the first time publicly that Biden won, then reversed course. Trump also repeated unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud.

"He won because the Election was Rigged," Trump wrote, not referring to Biden by name, adding a list of complaints about vote counting. About 90 minutes later, Trump wrote: "He only won in the eyes of the FAKE NEWS MEDIA. I concede NOTHING!"

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US President Donald Trump arrives for a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on Veterans Day at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, on November 11, 2020. - US President Donald Trump made his first official post-election appearance Wednesday for what should be a moment of national unity to mark Veteran's Day, now marred by his refusal to acknowledge Joe Biden's win. The president visited Arlington National Cemetery, four days after US media projected his Democratic rival would take the White House. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
US First Lady Melania Trump and President Donal Trump arrive for a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier for Veterans Day at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, on November 11, 2020. - US President Donald Trump made his first official post-election appearance Wednesday for what should be a moment of national unity to mark Veteran's Day, now marred by his refusal to acknowledge Joe Biden's win. The president visited Arlington National Cemetery, four days after US media projected his Democratic rival would take the White House. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump attends a "National Day of Observance" wreath laying ceremony on November 11, 2020 at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. - US President Donald Trump made his first official post-election appearance Wednesday for what should be a moment of national unity to mark Veteran's Day, now marred by his refusal to acknowledge Joe Biden's win. The president visited Arlington National Cemetery, four days after US media projected his Democratic rival would take the White House. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump leaves after placing a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on Veterans Day at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, on November 11, 2020. - US President Donald Trump made his first official post-election appearance Wednesday for what should be a moment of national unity to mark Veteran's Day, now marred by his refusal to acknowledge Joe Biden's win. The president visited Arlington National Cemetery, four days after US media projected his Democratic rival would take the White House. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
US President-elect Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden pay their respects during a Veterans Day stop at the Korean War Memorial Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on November 11, 2020. - The leaders of close US allies on November 10, 2020 telephoned President-elect Joe Biden and pledged to work together but in an extraordinary break, America's top diplomat Mike Pompeo insisted that Donald Trump would remain in power. The transition team said Biden planned to work with the Europeans on fighting the Covid-19 pandemic as well as climate change -- one of many areas on which Trump sharply differed with the allies. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)
US President-elect Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden pay their respects during a Veterans Day stop at the Korean War Memorial Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on November 11, 2020. - The leaders of close US allies on November 10, 2020 telephoned President-elect Joe Biden and pledged to work together but in an extraordinary break, America's top diplomat Mike Pompeo insisted that Donald Trump would remain in power. The transition team said Biden planned to work with the Europeans on fighting the Covid-19 pandemic as well as climate change -- one of many areas on which Trump sharply differed with the allies. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)
US President-elect Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden pay their respects during a Veterans Day stop at the Korean War Memorial Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on November 11, 2020. - The leaders of close US allies on November 10, 2020 telephoned President-elect Joe Biden and pledged to work together but in an extraordinary break, America's top diplomat Mike Pompeo insisted that Donald Trump would remain in power. The transition team said Biden planned to work with the Europeans on fighting the Covid-19 pandemic as well as climate change -- one of many areas on which Trump sharply differed with the allies. (Photo by ANGELA WEISS / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)
Daughter and Senior Advisor to the US President Ivanka Trump (R) looks on as US President Donald Trump arrives for a "National Day of Observance" wreath laying ceremony on November 11, 2020 at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. - US President Donald Trump made his first official post-election appearance Wednesday for what should be a moment of national unity to mark Veteran's Day, now marred by his refusal to acknowledge Joe Biden's win. The president visited Arlington National Cemetery, four days after US media projected his Democratic rival would take the White House. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - NOVEMBER 11: President-elect Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden honor military veterans with a stop at the Philadelphia Korean War Memorial at Penn's Landing on Veterans Day on November 10, 2020 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Mr. Biden continues the process of the presidential transition as President Donald Trump continues to contest the election. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - NOVEMBER 11: President-elect Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden honor military veterans with a stop at the Philadelphia Korean War Memorial at Penn's Landing on Veterans Day on November 10, 2020 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Mr. Biden continues the process of the presidential transition as President Donald Trump continues to contest the election. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
US Vice President Mike Pence (L), US President Donald Trump (C), and US First Lady Melania Trump arrive for a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier for Veterans Day at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, on November 11, 2020. - US President Donald Trump made his first official post-election appearance Wednesday for what should be a moment of national unity to mark Veteran's Day, now marred by his refusal to acknowledge Joe Biden's win. The president visited Arlington National Cemetery, four days after US media projected his Democratic rival would take the White House. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - NOVEMBER 11: President-elect Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden honor military veterans with a stop at the Philadelphia Korean War Memorial at Penn's Landing on Veterans Day on November 10, 2020 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Mr. Biden continues the process of the presidential transition as President Donald Trump continues to contest the election. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump attends a "National Day of Observance" wreath laying ceremony on November 11, 2020 at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. - US President Donald Trump made his first official post-election appearance Wednesday for what should be a moment of national unity to mark Veteran's Day, now marred by his refusal to acknowledge Joe Biden's win. The president visited Arlington National Cemetery, four days after US media projected his Democratic rival would take the White House. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
US President-elect Joe Biden(R) greets people as he pays his respects during a Veterans Day stop at the Korean War Memorial Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on November 11, 2020. - The leaders of close US allies on November 10, 2020 telephoned President-elect Joe Biden and pledged to work together but in an extraordinary break, America's top diplomat Mike Pompeo insisted that Donald Trump would remain in power. The transition team said Biden planned to work with the Europeans on fighting the Covid-19 pandemic as well as climate change -- one of many areas on which Trump sharply differed with the allies. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump attends a "National Day of Observance" wreath laying ceremony on November 11, 2020 at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. - US President Donald Trump made his first official post-election appearance Wednesday for what should be a moment of national unity to mark Veteran's Day, now marred by his refusal to acknowledge Joe Biden's win. The president visited Arlington National Cemetery, four days after US media projected his Democratic rival would take the White House. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
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After golfing at a club he owns in Virginia, Trump said on Twitter he would soon file "big cases showing the unconstitutionality of the 2020 Election." Trump's campaign has filed lawsuits seeking to overturn the results in multiple states, without success.

Legal experts have said the Trump litigation stands little chance of altering the election's outcome, and election officials of both parties have said there is no evidence of major irregularities.

"Donald Trump's Twitter feed doesn't make Joe Biden president or not president. The American people did that," Ron Klain, Biden's choice as White House chief of staff, said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

More than a week after Biden was declared the victor by major news organizations based on state-by-state vote counts, the General Services Administration still has not recognized him as president-elect, preventing his team from gaining access to government office space and funding normally afforded to an incoming administration to ensure a smooth transition.

Without explicitly mentioning the transition, Trump praised the GSA administrator he appointed, Emily Murphy, writing on Twitter: "Great job Emily!"

Klain said Murphy's agency must formally recognize Biden, saying it is critical to ensure the president-elect receives intelligence briefings before taking office and to facilitate coordination with the White House coronavirus task force. Klain urged Congress to pass bipartisan coronavirus relief legislation by year's end. Talks on such legislation have stalled.

Some congressional Republicans and former members of Trump's administration have also called on the White House to allow Biden's transition team access to more information to prepare to govern.

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