The president emerged from his post-election silence to assert, without evidence, that state election officials are rigging vote tallies.
President Donald Trump on Thursday evening listed a string of unfounded conspiracy theories to accuse state election officials of plotting to steal the election from him.
Taking the White House lectern for his first public address since election night, Trump offered no evidence for his assertions that officials are rigging the tallies or for his characterization of mail-in ballots as somehow illegitimate. The address came as his Democratic opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, expands his lead to secure the presidency and as Trump’s path to a second term hinges on winning four key states. Those states have yet to finish counting their ballots amid an unprecedented number of mail-in voting because of the coronavirus pandemic.
State elections officials have assured voters that this year’s election was hardly the chaos many feared due to Covid-19. Despite the occasional technical glitch and extended polling-site hours, there were no reports of major issues or interference. Though counting is taking longer this year, there is no support for the position that mailed-in ballots were part of a mass fraud.
Trump’s Thursday address immediately met with stern condemnation from his critics — including those in his own party. Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland tweeted that “there is no defense for the President‘s comments tonight undermining our Democratic process.“ Former Sen. Jeff Flake, whose home state of Arizona flipped for Biden this year, tweeted: “No Republican should be okay with the President‘s statements just now. Unacceptable. Period.“
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