White House rebuts Trump vote fraud claim


White House rebuts Trump vote fraud claim

Image caption
Mr Trump”s claims are unfounded, says White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest

The White House says there is no evidence to support Donald Trump”s claim of widespread voter fraud in the 2016 US presidential election.

Press Secretary Josh Earnest dismissed the president-elect”s unsubstantiated allegations that millions of people had cast illegal votes.

Mr Trump also alleged voter fraud in Virginia, New Hampshire and California, states which Hillary Clinton won.

Mr Earnest deferred to Mr Trump”s team for further comment.

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“What I can say, as an objective fact, is that there has been no evidence produced to substantiate a claim like that,” he told reporters at a White House briefing.

Mr Trump, who won the all-important electoral college count, aired his grievances with the election result in a tweet on Sunday.

“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,” he wrote.

“For Trump, controversy is like water to a fish”

Analysis: Anthony Zurcher, BBC North America reporter

It”s a classic Donald Trump move. Take an accusation, and turn it on an accuser. His opponents want a recount in states he won? Then he”ll allege massive voter fraud in states carried by Hillary Clinton.

There is, of course, no evidence of the “millions” of illegal votes that Mr Trump says were cast for Democrats. If there were, it would merit a full investigation and not a series of Sunday-morning tweets from the president-elect. The veracity of these accusations seems of little import to Mr Trump.

What matters is that by going on the offensive, he turns a story about the legitimacy of his narrow wins in key states into a muddled mess. As he has done in the past, he raises the volume in hopes of drowning out a negative story.

The irony is that, in this case, it seems a pointless undertaking. The Green Party-funded recounts will almost certainly fail to reveal electoral malfeasance. Mr Trump could have let them proceed without comment and avoided any controversy.

Then again, for this president-elect, controversy is like water to a fish. It surrounds and sustains him. Perhaps he can”t function without it.

The president-elect”s Twitter outburst comes after the camp of Mrs Clinton, his Democratic rival, said it would support a vote recount in Wisconsin initiated by Green Party candidate Jill Stein.

Ms Stein also moved to issue a recount in Pennsylvania and is expected to do the same in Michigan, where Mr Trump”s 16 electoral votes were certified on Monday.

Mr Trump won by two-tenths of a percentage point out of nearly 4.8 million votes, making it the closest presidential race in Michigan in more than 75 years.

He is the first Republican presidential nominee to win Michigan since 1988.

Results would need to be overturned in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania to alter the outcome of the November presidential election – something analysts say is highly unlikely.

Concerns over the possibility of Russian interference were expressed in the run-up to the vote.

Mrs Clinton”s campaign”s general counsel, Marc Elias, said there was no evidence to conclude the election had been sabotaged, but “we have an obligation to the more than 64 million Americans who cast ballots for Hillary Clinton to participate in ongoing proceedings to ensure that an accurate vote count will be reported”.

Here”s how some of the main news outlets reacted to Mr Trump”s claims on Twitter: