Former President Donald Trump and those closest to him believed before Election Day that he would win a second term, "their views swayed by the assurances of pro-Trump pundits and the unscientific measure of the size and excitement of the president's rally crowds," The New York Times reports. Trump had laid the groundwork for a Plan B, arguing that he lost only because of a vast conspiracy of fraud, but he and his close circle didn't think he would need it, the Times reports:
Flying home on Air Force One from the final campaign event in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in the early hours of Nov. 3., Mr. Trump's son Eric proposed an Electoral College betting pool. He wagered that the president would win at least 320 electoral votes, according to a person present for the exchange. "We're just trying to get to 270," an adviser more grounded in polling and analytics replied. [The New York Times]
The Times did not report how much Eric Trump bet or whether he ever paid up. But watching returns come in on election night, Donald Trump "fell into enraged disbelief as his lead inexorably dissipated, even in formerly red states like Arizona," the Times reports. "Eric Trump goaded him on — a dynamic that would play out in the weeks to come." Read more about Trump's post-election machinations at The New York Times.