WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is aware his fight to overturn the election is winding down, according to people familiar with the matter, but he isn't ready to end the effort as he fundraises off the furor, directing much of the proceeds to his political action committee.
Still, Trump appears to be staking out a path that will end with him departing the White House without ever formally conceding to Democrat Joe Biden. He's continuing to insist that the result was "rigged" as he plots his next steps.
The president has salted a string of hints into recent remarks that he's coming to grips with the reality Biden will be the next president.
On Thursday, taking questions from reporters for the first time since Election Day, Trump actually uttered the words "Biden administration."
But during a 25-minute news conference, he still indignantly insisted that he actually won the election while also signaling he'd accept his fate as the first one-term president since George H. W. Bush.
"Certainly I will, and you know that," Trump said when asked if he would leave the White House upon Biden's inauguration.
After a round of golf Friday and a fresh flurry of tweets stoking doubts about the election result, Trump headed to Camp David in Maryland for what could be his last visit as president to the wooded presidential retreat. All of his adult children and several close aides were already there, according to pictures posted on Instagram.
After an administration defined by Trump's taste for showmanship, he's kept an extraordinarily low profile since the election — golfing frequently, holding few public events, and until Thursday, avoiding his customary jousting with reporters.
Trump's circle of campaign advisers has shrunk to his most die-hard loyalists, chiefly Rudy Giuliani, said people familiar with the matter. His campaign apparatus has begun shutting down, and his campaign manager hasn't held a press call in three weeks.
In an interview with Newsmax Friday night, Giuliani vowed to take the battle to state lawmakers. "We're going to each one of these state legislators and we're saying: If you certify that vote, you're certifying a false statement," he said.