When President Donald Trump sends lawyers to court, it seems he’s not sending his best.
Fighting to challenge an election he lost to President-elect Joe Biden, Trump has launched a barrage of lawsuits across the country. Top Republicans have stood behind him and said they will wait for those cases to be resolved before officially recognizing the winner, a standard that has no modern precedent.
But his attorneys have repeatedly made elementary errors in those high-profile cases: misspelling “poll watcher” as “pole watcher,” forgetting the name of the presiding judge during a hearing, inadvertently filing a Michigan lawsuit before an obscure court in Washington and having to refile complaints after erasing entire arguments they’re using to challenge results.
“The sloppiness just serves to underscore the lack of seriousness with which these claims are being brought,” said Rick Hasen, a law professor at the University of California, Irvine.
Trump’s legal team has lost repeatedly in court and failed to uncover the kind of widespread fraud that might challenge Biden’s leads in several key battleground states. His lawyers and allies have still pressed forward with asking judges and certification authorities to block the results.
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and other Trump lawyers held a press conference Thursday in which they berated reporters for questioning their claims and cited a Michigan affidavit already dismissed by a judge. They also argued a debunked conspiracy theory that Venezuela could have hacked election results through machines used by local authorities.
“I know crimes. I can smell them,” Giuliani said as streaks of sweat and what appeared to be hair dye ran down the sides of his face. “You don’t have to smell this one. I can prove it to you 18 different ways.”
Experts have noted that Trump is not employing the Republican Party’s top election lawyers, including those who represented the GOP in the Florida recount two decades ago. Law firms have faced public pressure from Trump opponents not to fight the election on his behalf. Legal giant Porter Wright Morris & Arthur withdrew from a case in Pennsylvania last week.