Barack Obama Calls Trump a 'Two-Bit Dictator' After Report Trump Will Declare Premature Victory

Barack Obama responded to reports that President Donald Trump will declare a premature win after polls close Tuesday, but before all votes are counted, while delivering remarks at a rally in Miami, on the eve of the general election. Obama, Trump's predecessor, is a strong advocate for Joe Biden's presidential campaign, and in turn, an outspoken critic of the president. Biden previously served as vice president in the Obama administration.

In addressing the Miami rally's attendees, Obama praised the Biden-Harris presidential bid and warned against another four years with Trump in office. After referencing the president's friendly relations with authoritarian world leaders, Obama called Trump a "two-bit dictator," specifically making reference to reports published over the weekend that suggested he may declare himself victor of this year's election before a final vote count.

"He's been coddling dictators for the last four years," Obama said. "And now, apparently, he says he might declare victory before all the votes are counted tomorrow."

The former president referenced a report, originally published by Axios on Sunday, that claimed Trump is planning to announce himself the election's winner if early voting breakdowns indicate that he is ahead. If true, the move would be problematic for a number of reasons, including the fact that highly populous swing states like Pennsylvania are expected to continue counting votes for days after Tuesday's polls close. Axios based its report on three unnamed sources who, according to the publication, were privy to correspondence between Trump and his confidants.

"That's not something you want to hear," Obama continued on Monday. "That's not something that a leader of a democracy does. That's something that a two-bit dictator does. If you believe in democracy, you want every vote counted."

Barack Obama
Former president Barack Obama speaks at a rally in Miami on Monday night to support Joe Biden's presidential campaign. Obama called President Donald Trump a "two-bit dictator" in his remarks at the rally, referencing reports that Trump will declare victory before all votes are counted this week. Joe Raedle/Getty

Trump denied the Axios report's claims in comments to journalists later on Sunday. However, echoing past sentiments that make clear his feelings about an extended deadline for elections officials to collect ballots and tally votes, the president added: "I think it's a terrible thing when ballots can be collected after an election. I think it's a terrible thing when states are allowed to tabulate ballots for a long period of time after the election is over."

The president also said he intends to involve attorneys in subsequent legal proceedings related to mail-in ballots—which an unprecedented number of people are using to vote this year, given concerns about heightened risks of COVID-19 transmission at in-person polling sites—and how soon votes must be counted following an election.

Newsweek reached out to the Trump campaign for comment but did not receive a reply in time for publication.