President Trump warned in a Thursday interview that widespread mail-in voting in November “puts the election at risk,” and rejected the premise of a question about whether he would accept the election results no matter what, saying “you can never answer the second question, right?”
Speaking to Politico in the White House, Trump expressed worries that Republican legal efforts to block Democrats from using the coronavirus pandemic to justify widespread vote-by-mail.
“My biggest risk is that we don’t win lawsuits,” Trump said. “We have many lawsuits going all over. And if we don’t win those lawsuits, I think — I think it puts the election at risk.” The Republican National Committee and Trump reelection campaign are spending $20 million for litigation battles across the country to halt the spread of voting-by-mail, over concerns of potential fraud.
“We will not stand idly by while Democrats try to sue their way to victory in 2020,” RNC chief of staff Richard Walters told Politico. “Democrats may be using the coronavirus as an excuse to strip away important election safeguards, but the American people continue to support commonsense protections that defend the integrity of our democratic processes.”
Trump has repeatedly slammed calls for mail-in voting, saying in April that it lets “people cheat” and involves “a lot of dishonesty.” After Trump tweeted in May that the use of mail-in ballots for large numbers of people would be “substantially fraudulent” and result in a “rigged election,” Twitter subsequently labeled his tweets with a “fact-check” that pushed back on the claim — a first for the social media company.
When asked Thursday if he would accept the election results, no matter what, Trump appeared annoyed at the question. “Well, you can never answer the second question, right? Because Hillary kept talking about she’s going to accept, and they never accepted it. You know. She lost too. She lost good,” he said. In an interview last week Trump told Fox News’ Harris Faulkner that “certainly, if I don’t win, I don’t win.”
“You go on, do other things,” Trump said of the case in which he lost. But he added that losing to former vice president Joe Biden “would be a very bad thing for our country.”
Biden said last week that Trump “is going to try to steal this election” through unfounded claims of voter fraud. “This is a guy who said that all mail-in ballots are fraudulent, voting by mail,” Biden told The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah.
“While he sits behind the desk in the Oval Office and writes his mail-in ballot to vote in a primary.” He added that he had thought of the scenario in which Trump refused to accept the results if he lost, and appeared to say that he expects the military would then remove him. “I’m absolutely convinced they will escort him from the White House with great dispatch,” Biden said.