APTOPIX Election 2020 Trump

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence arrive for a campaign rally at Cherry Capital Airport, Monday, Nov. 2, 2020, in Traverse City, Mich. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The most direct attempt to undermine the integrity of the U.S. election with bad information came not from overseas sources or online liars but from a president standing behind the presidential seal at the White House and facing his defeat.

In the hours before his election loss Saturday, President Donald Trump spoke of "horror stories" in voting and counting across the land, but his stories were wrong. Election officials, Democrats and some Republicans blanched at his baseless recitation of sinister doings and his effort to delegitimize democracy's highest calling.

But he did not stop even after Pennsylvania delivered the presidency to Democrat Joe Biden.

Since the tide turned after election night and Biden gained strength on his way to victory, Trump lashed out at results he didn't like, often lapsing into all-capital letters with his hectoring. Biden stayed low for several days after the vote, making measured statements when he did appear.

Trump persisted in misrepresenting developments at ballot-counting centers, falsely tweeting that campaign observers in Pennsylvania were blocked from seeing what was going on as Biden overtook him in the vote count.

Twitter hid four of Trump's tweets behind a label warning that they contain dubious information, a step the company says significantly restricts engagement with them. The tweets made false statements about the legality of properly cast ballots and the way votes are being counted. Twitter has flagged more than a dozen of Trump's tweets and retweets this way in the past week.

Facebook applied cautionary labels to Trump's posts on its platform, too. For one Trump post claiming ballot irregularities, Facebook's label stated: "Election officials follow strict rules when it comes to ballot counting, handling and reporting."

A sampling of the rhetoric from a transformational week:

Associated Press writers Maryclaire Dale in Philadelphia, Amanda Seitz in Chicago, Christina A. Cassidy in Atlanta, Tali Arbel in Phoenix, David Klepper in Providence, Rhode Island, and Colleen Long, Brian Slodysko and Hope Yen in Washington contributed to this report.

The Associated Press has been fact-checking politicians since 1996, when Bill Clinton was president. These are not opinion pieces but instead are straight-news items that adhere to AP's Statement of News Values. The AP encourages readers to reach out with comments, fact-checking suggestions and corrections at FactCheck@ap.org. Learn more about the team and how this content is produced at apnews.com.

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