Trump slams re­count push as ‘a scam,’ says elec­tion is over

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - WEATHER - By Steve Peoples

WEST PALM BEACH, FLA.>> Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump on Satur­day con­demned a grow­ing push to force re­counts in three states piv­otal to his Nov. 8 vic­tory, con­fronting the Green Party-backed ef­fort for the first time even as he worked to ad­dress key Cab­i­net va­can­cies.

The New York bil­lion­aire, who charged the elec­tion was “rigged” on a daily ba­sis be­fore his vic­tory, called the de­vel­op­ing re­count ef­fort “a scam” in a state­ment re­leased by his tran­si­tion team.

Trump had been ig­nor­ing Green Party nom­i­nee Jill Stein’s fight to re­visit vote to­tals in Wis­con­sin, Michi­gan and Penn­syl­va­nia. Wis­con­sin of­fi­cials an­nounced late Fri­day they are mov­ing for­ward with the first pres­i­den­tial re­count in state his­tory.

“The peo­ple have spo­ken and the elec­tion is over,” Trump de­clared Satur­day. He added, “We must ac­cept this re­sult and then look to the fu­ture.”

At the same time, Trump was scram­bling to ad­dress un­filled ad­min­is­tra­tion jobs, hav­ing barely scratched the sur­face of cre­at­ing the mas­sive team needed to run the gov­ern­ment be­fore his Jan. 20 in­au­gu­ra­tion.

Ex­perts say pres­i­den­tial tran­si­tions are pe­ri­ods of great vul­ner­a­bil­ity for the na­tion, and among the va­can­cies on the Trump team are lead­ers of the depart­ments of State, De­fense and Home­land Se­cu­rity.

Trump, who has vir­tu­ally no ex­pe­ri­ence in foreign affairs, of­fered a one­line tweet Satur­day morn­ing in re­ac­tion to the death of Cuban leader Fidel Cas­tro — “Fidel Cas­tro is dead!” — be­fore is­su­ing a more de­tailed state­ment.

“While Cuba re­mains a to­tal­i­tar­ian is­land, it is my hope that to­day marks a move away from the hor­rors en­dured for too long, and to­ward a fu­ture in which the won­der­ful Cuban peo­ple fi­nally live in the free­dom they so richly de­serve,” Trump said.

His tran­si­tion team did not re­spond to re­quests to clar­ify his Cuba pol­icy, which was in­con­sis­tent dur­ing the cam­paign.

Trump first sug­gested he sup­ported Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s or­ders loos­en­ing the U.S. trade em­bargo on the is­land. He re­versed him­self less than a month be­fore the elec­tion, how­ever, vow­ing to over­turn Obama’s or­der un­less Cuba meets de­mands in­clud­ing “re­li­gious and po­lit­i­cal free­dom for the Cuban peo­ple and the free­ing of po­lit­i­cal pris­on­ers.”

Mean­while, the in­com­ing pres­i­dent paid lit­tle if any at­ten­tion Stein’s re­count push, but Demo­cratic ri­val Hil­lary Clin­ton forced his hand on Satur­day by for­mally join­ing the ef­fort. Stein, who drew 1 per­cent of the vote na­tion­ally, is rais­ing mil­lions of dol­lars to fund the re­counts.

“Be­cause we had not un­cov­ered any ac­tion­able ev­i­dence of hack­ing or out­side at­tempts to al­ter the vot­ing tech­nol­ogy, we had not planned to ex­er­cise this op­tion our­selves,” Clin­ton cam­paign at­tor­ney Marc Elias wrote Satur­day in blog post. “But now that a re­count has been ini­ti­ated in Wis­con­sin, we in­tend to par­tic­i­pate in or­der to en­sure the process pro­ceeds in a man­ner that is fair to all sides.”

Elias said Clin­ton would take the same ap­proach in Penn­syl­va­nia and Michi­gan if Stein were to fol­low through with re­count re­quests those states, even though that was highly un­likely to change the elec­tion out­come.

“Re­gard­less of the po­ten­tial to change the out­come in any of the states, we feel it is im­por­tant, on prin­ci­ple, to en­sure our cam­paign is legally rep­re­sented in any court pro­ceed­ings and rep­re­sented on the ground in or­der to mon­i­tor the re­count process it­self,” Elias wrote.

Clin­ton leads the na­tional pop­u­lar vote by close to 2 mil­lion votes, but Trump won 290 elec­toral votes to Clin­ton’s 232, with Michi­gan still too close to call. It takes 270 to win the pres­i­dency.

Trump, who re­peat­edly chal­lenged the in­tegrity of the U.S. elec­tion sys­tem be­fore his win, called the re­count push “a scam by the Green Party for an elec­tion that has al­ready been con­ceded.”

“The re­sults of this elec­tion should be re­spected in­stead of be­ing chal­lenged and abused, which is ex­actly what Jill Stein is do­ing,” he said in the state­ment, which didn’t men­tion Clin­ton’s in­volve­ment.

Trump was spend­ing the Thanks­giv­ing hol­i­day week­end with fam­ily at his Palm Beach es­tate, Mar-aLago. He had planned to fo­cus on fill­ing key ad­min­is­tra­tion posts over the work­ing va­ca­tion. On Fri­day, he named Fox News an­a­lyst Kath­leen Troia “KT” McFarland as deputy na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser and ap­pointed cam­paign at­tor­ney Don­ald McGahn as White House coun­sel.

Trump planned to re­turn to his New York home on Sun­day ahead of a series of Mon­day meet­ings with prospec­tive ad­min­is­tra­tion hires, in­clud­ing Sher­iff David Clarke of Mil­wau­kee County, Wis­con­sin. He’s seen as a pos­si­ble Home­land Se­cu­rity pick. Clarke’s vo­cal op­po­si­tion to the “Black Lives Mat­ter” move­ment has made him pop­u­lar with many con­ser­va­tives.

Trump and Vice Pres­i­dent-elect Mike Pence also have Mon­day meet­ings sched­uled with Ok­la­homa At­tor­ney Gen­eral Scott Pruitt, Rep. Lou Bar­letta, R-Pa., for­mer Se­cu­rity and Ex­change Com­mis­sion com­mis­sioner Paul Atkins, World Wide Tech­nol­ogy chair­man David Ste­ward and Gen­eral Growth Prop­er­ties CEO San­deep Mathrani.

In­ter­nal di­vi­sions over his choice for sec­re­tary of state have de­layed that crit­i­cal de­ci­sion. The op­tions in­clude for­mer New York Mayor Rudy Gi­u­liani, who lacks foreign pol­icy ex­pe­ri­ence, but was in­tensely loyal to Trump, and 2012 Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Mitt Rom­ney, who ag­gres­sively op­posed Trump’s can­di­dacy but is largely re­garded as more qual­i­fied. Ten­nessee Sen. Bob Corker is also a pos­si­bil­ity.

Mean­while, Lib­erty Univer­sity Pres­i­dent Jerry Fal­well Jr. says Trump of­fered him the job of Sec­re­tary of Ed­u­ca­tion, but he turned it down for per­sonal rea­sons.

Fal­well told The Associated Press on Satur­day that Trump wanted a four- to six-year com­mit­ment, but Fal­well says he couldn’t leave Lib­erty for more than two years. Trump an­nounced Wed­nes­day he had se­lected char­ter school ad­vo­cate Betsy DeVos for the job.


Con­struc­tion con­tin­ues on the pres­i­den­tial re­view­ing stand on Penn­syl­va­nia Av­enue in front of the White House in Wash­ing­ton, Satur­day, Nov. 26, 2016. The re­view­ing stand is where then Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump will view the in­au­gu­ral pa­rade on Jan. 20, 2017.

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