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Trump claims ‘election disaster’ likely due to mail-in voting

President Donald Trump warned on Friday the United States would face its ‘biggest election disaster in history’ with mail-in ballots being used this fall.

‘This is going to be the biggest election disaster in history,’ Trump predicted of the November contest, adding the results may never be known. 

‘You won’t know the election result for weeks, months, maybe years after. Maybe you’ll never know the election result. And that’s what I’m concerned with. It’ll be fixed. It’ll be rigged,’ he said at the White House during an event with police chiefs.

‘Watch what happens,’ he said. 

His comment about the election – taken with his past statements – have sparked Democratic fears Trump won’t accept the results in November if Joe Biden wins.

Trump has, of late, refused to say if he’ll accept what happens in November. 

Asked by Axios’ Jonathan Swan, in an interview to air Monday on HBO, the president wouldn’t say if he would accept the will of the voters but did argue Hillary Clinton hadn’t accepted the 2016 election. 

‘Hillary Clinton didn’t accepted them. She’s still never accepted them,’ Trump said.

Clinton formally conceded to President Trump in both a private phone call and in a public speech after the election.

Trump has questioned the legitimacy of using mail-in ballots in November, an option many states are using to help combat the spread of the coronavirus. The president went as far to suggest postponing the election. 

His latest remarks came as he met with the National Association of Police Organizations Leadership at the White House on Friday after law enforcement endorsed his re-election bid to push his ‘law and order’ message and slam Democratic rival Joe Biden.

The president has courted law enforcement and become their biggest advocate in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, the black man who died after a white police officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes.

Trump met with police chiefs after the National Association of Police Organizations, which represents more than 1,000 police units and associations nationwide, endorsed his re-election bid earlier this week.

The powerful police group did not endorse a candidate in the 2016 election but backed former President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden in both the 2008 and 2012 elections.

Trump has decried efforts by some liberals to defund police departments, a call that came about after Floyd died.

The president has falsely claimed Biden wants to defund police units, which he does not. Trump repeated that incorrect claim on Friday and argued Biden, known for his moderate political stances, has been pulled further to the left than Bernie Sanders.

‘Joe Biden’s pledge to cut police funding. You do know about that. I assume right you’ve heard that little rumor. This guy has been dragged so far left. Biden has been taken further left than Bernie ever was. Bernie was never this,’ he said.

Trump labeled himself the ‘law and order president’ – a moniker he believes will help him politically – when demonstrations sprung up around the country after Floyd died.

But his railing against November’s voting even had Republicans speaking out against him on Thursday.

It came as Trump doubled down on his threat to delay November’s election, citing concerns mail-in voting could lead to a ‘rigged’ and ‘crooked’ result.

The president, in a brief news conference at the White House on Thursday evening, said he didn’t want to see the election delayed but also argued he didn’t want to see mail-in ballots go missing, indicating his opposition to mail-in voting remains an issue in regards to the general election.

Trump and some Republicans have pushed the unproven claim that mail-in voting leads to fraud and they’ve also questioned the ability of the U.S. Postal Service to get all the ballots delivered to the various state boards of election. 

‘We’re asking for a lot of trouble,’ Trump said. ‘Do I want to see a date change? No. But I don’t want to see a crooked election. This election will be the most rigged election in history.’

More and more states are looking at mail-in voting options as a way to counter the coronavirus pandemic but Republicans believe that favors voting blocs that vote Democrats and are suing several states to stop the process. 

‘I don’t want to delay,’ Trump added. ‘I want to have the election. But I also don’t want to have to wait three months and then find out that the ballots are all missing and the election doesn’t mean anything. That what’s going to happen.’

‘And everyone knows it,’ he added. ‘Smart people know. Stupid people may not know it. Some people don’t want to talk about it. But they know it.’ 

Trump also claimed his bombshell attempt to delay November’s election was merely a way to get the media to talk about his allegations against mail-in voting and added that he expects to know election results the night of Nov. 3.

‘Glad I was able to get the very dishonest LameStream Media to finally start talking about the RISKS to our Democracy from dangerous Universal Mail-In-Voting (not Absentee Voting, which I totally support!),’ he tweeted before his news conference. 

Presidents have no power to change the date of the election. That must be done through an act of Congress. And Republican senators, including several Trump allies, were quick to say it wasn’t going happen.

Trump then argued he wanted to bring attention to his argument that mail-in voting causes fraud. Numerous studies have shown that is not the case and that there is very little voter fraud in America.

But the president also gave another demand – to know the results on election night. Given that many states are expanding mail-in voting options to limit exposure to the coronavirus, the results of the contest will likely take a few days as any ballot with a November 3 postmark will be counted.

Even the results in 2016, which used in-person for the majority of voting, weren’t know until later the next day. 

‘Must know Election results on the night of the Election, not days, months, or even years later!,’ Trump wrote. 

And he added: ‘We are going to WIN the 2020 Election, BIG! #MAGA’

His chief of staff Mark Meadows, on Capitol Hill to work on coronavirus relief package negotiations, said the president’s delay demand was referring to concerns about how long a national mail-in election would take to be tabulated. 

‘He’s highlighting what what he strongly believes and what billions of Americans believe is that, trying to go to a universal mail-in ballot process by its very function will delay the results of the election,’ Meadows told reporters on Capitol Hill.

He pointed out that results of some of the races in New York’s primary, held last month, were still be waited on as the state board of elections counted mail-in ballots. 

‘Can you imagine what that would be like if we’re waiting on who the President of the United States is going to be based on mail-in ballots?’ Meadows said.

The winner of the presidential election would not be sworn into office until Wednesday, January 20, 2021, which would give almost three months for all ballots to be counted. 

In 2000, the winner of the George W. Bush and Al Gore contest was not declared until December 12 after numerous recounts in Florida and a ruling by the Supreme Court. 

Meadows also questioned the ability of the U.S. Postal Service to guarantee the safety of the mail-in ballots, another question Republicans are raising in the fight against mail-in ballots.

‘Universal mail in ballots, you would raise the question of does every ballot, when it leaves the election board and goes out in the mail to someone who is registered, does it get returned and is that ballot actually safe and secure? I would suggest, knowing the United States Postal Service as well as I do – and no disrespect to the great men and women who work in the postal system – I don’t know that we have a high degree of confidence that the custody of those ballots can be the same as if you were going in and casting your ballot in person,’ he added. 

Trump’s clarification also comes after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other top Republicans shot down his suggestion to delay the November election until ‘people can properly, securely and safely vote.’  

McConnell pointed out elections hadn’t been delayed in the past and did not need to be now. 

‘Never in the history of the country through wars, depressions, and the Civil War have we ever not had a federally scheduled election on time. And we’ll find a way to do that again this November 3,’ McConnell told a local Kentucky television station.

He confirmed he expected the election to take place on November 3. ‘That’s right. We’ll cope with whatever the situation is in the election on November 3 as already scheduled.’

Other Republicans agreed. 

‘I don’t believe we should delay the elections. Delaying the election probably wouldn’t be a good idea. I think we can be able to safely vote in person in November,’ said Senator Lindsey Graham, a close Trump ally on Capitol Hill. 

Senator Rick Scott, another Trump ally, said he ‘doesn’t agree with delaying the election.’ 

Senator Chuck Grassley, the president pro temp of the Senate, said the country would follow the law when it came to the election date. 

‘All these things are pretty well set and have been going on for decades. And so we’re a country based on the rule of law so nobody’s going to change anything until we change the law,’ he said.

Senator Ted Cruz said election fraud should be investigated but that doesn’t mean postponing the election.

‘I think election fraud is a serious problem and we need to fight it and stop it. But no, we should not delay the election,’ he said. 

And House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, who is also close to Trump, said there should be no delay. 

‘Never in the history of the federal elections have we not held an election and we should go forward,’ he said.

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