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WASHINGTON — With Florida looking red early on Tuesday night, President Trump and his advisers thought they were witnessing a repeat of election night 2016, when a victory in Florida foreshadowed a victory over all.
Inside the East Room, the mood was upbeat as hundreds of people, including cabinet secretaries, ambassadors and former officials who have remained loyal to Mr. Trump, mingled and dined on sliders and French fries. Officials who had been pessimistic about the president’s re-election chances suddenly started to picture four more years in power.
That mirage of victory was pierced when Fox News called Arizona for former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. at 11:20 p.m., with just 73 percent of the state’s vote counted.
Mr. Trump and his advisers erupted at the news. If it was true that Arizona was lost, it would call into doubt on any claim of victory the president might be able to make.