Trump calls re­count a ‘scam’ as Clin­ton backs ef­fort

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Opinion/worldwide -

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

Hil­lary Clin­ton

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