Trump claims ‘se­ri­ous’ fraud, says mil­lions voted il­le­gally

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

WASHINGTON — Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump made un­sub­stan­ti­ated claims on Sun­day of se­ri­ous US voter fraud and said “mil­lions of peo­ple” had cast their bal­lots il­le­gally, of­fer­ing no ev­i­dence for the as­ser­tions he put forth on Twit­ter.

Trump’s shock path to the White House saw him fall short of his Demo­cratic ri­val Hil­lary Clin­ton in the pop­u­lar vote — she car­ried the elec­tion by 2.2 mil­lion bal­lots — but win the all-im­por­tant Elec­toral Col­lege count, which de­cides the US pres­i­dency.

The Repub­li­can bil­lion­aire’s lat­est state­ments, in which he said he would have won the pop­u­lar vote were it not for the “mil­lions of peo­ple who voted il­le­gally,” came as steps are be­ing taken to­wards re­count­ing votes in the state of Wis­con­sin, which Trump won.

Trump and his aides have pushed back hard against that re­count, with the pres­i­dent-elect let­ting loose a se­ries of early-morn­ing tweets in which he quoted Clin­ton about the need to re­spect the elec­toral process.

But by the end of the day, Trump was al­leg­ing on Twit­ter that: “In ad­di­tion to win­ning the Elec­toral Col­lege in a land­slide, I won the pop­u­lar vote if you deduct the mil­lions of peo­ple who voted il­le­gally.”

Although Trump had warned be­fore the elec­tion that the re­sult might be “rigged,” he had of­fered no such com­plaint af­ter his un­ex­pected Novem­ber 8 vic­tory — un­til now.

Back in New York late Sun­day af­ter spend­ing the Thanks­giv­ing hol­i­day at his Florida Mar-a-Lago re­sort with his fam­ily, Trump again took to Twit­ter, al­leg­ing that voter fraud had oc­curred in sev­eral states.

“Se­ri­ous voter fraud in Vir­ginia, New Hamp­shire and Cal­i­for­nia — so why isn’t the me­dia re­port­ing on this? Se­ri­ous bias — big prob­lem!” Trump posted.

Trump and his aides have of­fered no ev­i­dence con­cern­ing the claims, nor did Trump ex­plain why he would op­pose the nascent Wis­con­sin re­count if il­le­gal vot­ing was such a se­ri­ous prob­lem.

No elec­tion ob­servers have pointed to any such wide­spread fraud.

While the re­count was re­quested by Green Party can­di­date Jill Stein, who re­ceived a minute frac­tion of the to­tal vote in Wis­con­sin, Clin­ton’s cam­paign has said it would join the process de­spite hav­ing seen no ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties in the White House con­test so far.

Trump’s top aide Kellyanne Con­way, in the mid­dle of the tur­bu­lence, ap­peared on Sun­day to at least hint that if the Clin­ton team pushes too hard on the Wis­con­sin re­count, the pres­i­dent-elect might re­think his vow not to seek Clin­ton’s pros­e­cu­tion for us­ing a pri­vate email server when she was sec­re­tary of state.

Con­way said on ABC that while Trump was be­ing “mag­nan­i­mous” to­ward Clin­ton, “I guess her at­ti­tude to­wards that is to have her coun­sel go and join this ridicu­lous re­count.”

Marc Erik Elias, an elec­tion lawyer for the Demo­cratic can­di­date, said in a post on Medium.com on Satur­day that the cam­paign would also par­tic­i­pate in re­counts in Michi­gan and Penn­syl­va­nia if they are ar­ranged. Most elec­tion ex­perts see al­most no chance the elec­tion out­come could be re­versed — Clin­ton trails in each state by sev­eral thou­sand votes. Trump won Michi­gan, Penn­syl­va­nia and Wis­con­sin by a to­tal of just over 100 000 votes, even while com­pil­ing many more than the 270 votes needed for vic­tory in the Elec­toral Col­lege.

The dis­pute con­tin­ued to roil what has al­ready been a rough tran­si­tion pe­riod, as se­ri­ous signs of in­ter­nal dis­cord over cab­i­net picks again emerged on Sun­day.

The dis­cord cen­tres around the po­si­tion of sec­re­tary of state, with some in the Trump camp sup­port­ing Mitt Rom­ney, the 2012 Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee, as a more main­stream choice while others favour for­mer New York mayor Rudy Gi­u­liani.

In what an­a­lysts con­sid­ered a highly un­usual pub­lic air­ing of those ten­sions from within the Trump team, Con­way last week tweeted that she had re­ceived “a del­uge” of con­cern from peo­ple warn­ing against Rom­ney. Asked about that on Sun­day, she told NBC that she wasn’t “cam­paign­ing” against Rom­ney, but was “just as­ton­ished at the breath­tak­ing vol­ume and in­ten­sity of blow­back” to a pos­si­ble Rom­ney nom­i­na­tion. Trump sup­port­ers were in­fu­ri­ated in March when the for­mer Mas­sachusetts gov­er­nor de­liv­ered a pas­sion­ately worded at­tack on him on the part of the Repub­li­can Party’s es­tab­lish­ment, call­ing him a “fraud,” given to “ab­surd third-grade the­atrics.” — AP

Don­ald Trump

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