Trump calls recount a ‘scam’ as Clinton backs effort
PRESIDENT-ELECT Donald Trump, who called the presidential elections “rigged” for most of his campaign, branded the recount effort aimed at revisiting the vote in three pivotal battleground states a “scam”.
“The people have spoken and the election is over,” Trump declared on Saturday in his first comments about the growing effort to force recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.
He added: “We must accept this result and then look to the future.”
Later on Saturday he also accused the Green Party of trying to “fill up their coffers” with an “impossible recount”.
Green Party nominee Jill Stein’s fight for a recount got a major boost on Friday when Wisconsin officials announced they were moving forward with the first presidential recount in state history.
The incoming president had been paying little if any attention to 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.
‘‘Over the last few days, officials in the Clinton campaign have received hundreds of messages, emails, and calls urging us to do something…
“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 on Saturday in a 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 stated.
Elias said Clinton would take the same approach in Pennsylvania and Michigan if Stein were to follow through with recount requests in those states, even though that was highly unlikely to change the election outcome.
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 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 did not mention Clinton’s involvement.
Trump was expected to return to New York yesterday after spending the Thanksgiving holiday weekend at his West Palm Beach estate. His transition team said the president-elect had scheduled a series of meetings today with prospective administration hires.
Meanwhile, Trump’s tax proposals would modestly cut income taxes for most middle-class Americans. But for nearly eight million families, including a majority of single-parent households, the opposite would occur: They’d pay more.
Most married couples with three or more children would also pay higher taxes, an analysis by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Centre found. And while middle-class families as a whole would receive tax cuts of about 2 percent, they’d be dwarfed by the windfalls averaging 13.5 percent for America’s richest 1 percent.
Trump’s campaign rhetoric had promoted the benefits of his proposals for middle-income Americans.
“The largest tax reductions are for the middle class,” said Trump’s “Contract With the American Voter,” released last month.
The tax hikes that would hit single parents and large families would result from Trump’s plan to eliminate the personal exemption and the head-of-household filing status. These features of the tax code have enabled many Americans to reduce their taxable income.
His other proposed tax changes would benefit middle- and lower-income Americans. But they wouldn’t be enough to offset those modifications.
“If you’re a low — or moderate-income single parent, you’re going to get hurt,” said Bob Williams, a fellow at the Tax Policy Centre.
Unlike Trump’s polarising proposals on immigration and trade, his tax plan is in line with traditional Republican policy.
His steep tax cuts in many ways resemble those carried out by Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W Bush and the Republican-run Congress is expected to welcome them.
During the campaign, Trump said his tax cuts — for individuals and companies — would energise the economy by boosting business investment in factories and equipment, while leaving consumers with more cash to spend. His proposals, he contended, would help create 25 million jobs over the next decade. — AFP