U.S. President-elect Donald Trump claimed without providing evidence that he would have won the popular vote if millions of illegal votes were excluded, hours after criticizing an effort to recount votes in three battleground states.
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, Trump, a Republican, told his 16 million Twitter followers Sunday. In a subsequent tweet, he claimed the media wasnt reporting serious voter fraud in the Democratic-leaning states of California, New Hampshire and Virginia.
Trump offered nothing to back up his allegations of wrongdoing in the Nov. 8 election — one that returned to his pre-election mantra of a rigged result. Although Trump beat Democrat Hillary Clinton 306-232 in the state-by-state Electoral College, the former secretary of state leads Trump by more than 2.2 million votes in the nationwide popular vote, according to a running tally by the non-partisan Cook Political Report. A Trump spokesman didnt immediately respond to a request for comment.
Cook shows Clinton with 64.65 million total votes to Trumps 62.42 million, or a lead of 48.2 percent to 46.5 percent. Third-party and other candidates received 7.19 million votes, or about 5.4 percent. In 13 swing states, Trump won 48.4 percent of the vote to Clintons 46.6 percent.
Earlier on Sunday, Trump had criticized recounts proposed for Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, which are being spearheaded by Green Party candidate Jill Stein — an effort that Clintons campaign said Saturday it would join.
In seven early-morning Twitter posts, Trump recounted previous comments by Clinton on the need to accept the election results, culminating in her concession speech on Nov. 9. So much time and money will be spent — same result! Sad, Trump concluded. On Saturday, he called the Green Partys recount efforts a scam to fill up their coffers.
The president-elect spent the weekend at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, and returned to New York late Sunday. Several potential hires are due to visit Trump Tower in midtown Manhattan on Monday to interview for administration posts, including John Allison, a former chief executive of BB&T Corp.; Paul Atkins, a former Securities and Exchange commissioner; and David Clarke, the sheriff of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin.
Trump aides on Sunday fanned out across political talk shows to cast cold water on the recount efforts.
Reince Priebus, the incoming White House chief of staff, said on Fox News Sunday that the planned recount would serve only to divide this country when we need to come together.
The effort was confounding and disappointing, Trump senior adviser Kellyanne Conway said on NBCs Meet the Press. It turns out Team Hillary and their new BFF Jill Stein cant accept reality, Conway said Saturday in a statement.
Stein has raised more than $6.1 million for her recount effort, with a $7 million goal, according to a running tally on her website.
Clintons campaign will participate in the recount in order to ensure the process proceeds in a manner that is fair to all sides, Clinton campaign lawyer Marc Elias said Saturday.
Elias, in a post on the blogging website Medium, added that he doesnt expect the action to overturn Trumps election. He also detailed exhaustive efforts already undertaken by the Democrats team to assure the validity of the vote.
Clintons campaign hadnt planned to initiate the recounts on its own because it hasnt found any actionable evidence of hacking or outside attempts to alter the voting technology, Elias wrote.
A senior administration official, meanwhile, said in a statement that the government didnt observe any increased level of malicious cyber-activity aimed at disrupting the election on election day and believes the elections were free and fair from a cyber-security perspective.