Trump Baselessly Continues Florida Voter Fraud Claims: ‘Honest Vote Count No Longer Possible’

President Donald Trump declared that “an honest vote count is no longer” in the controversial Florida midterm elections for the state’s governor and U.S. Senate positions, claiming without evidence that many of the ballots are “missing or forged.”

The two races, Florida Governor Rick Scott Scott versus Democratic Senator Bill Nelson for the Senate seat and former Rep. Ron DeSantis verses Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum for governor, appeared to be going for Republicans on election night. As more ballots were counted in Democratic-leaning areas, like Broward County and Palm Beach, additional votes started going to Democrats, which narrowed the GOP’s lead and triggered a recount.

“The Florida Election should be called in favor of Rick Scott and Ron DeSantis in that large numbers of new ballots showed up out of nowhere, and many ballots are missing or forged,” Trump tweeted on Monday morning. “An honest vote count is no longer possible-ballots massively infected. Must go with Election Night!”

The president did not include any evidence to back up his claims of voter fraud.

Florida does offer military and overseas voters “a 10-day extension exists for overseas voters” extension for their ballots to be counted, which is what the president may be talking about in his line about “new ballots” showing up “out of nowhere.”

“The overseas voter’s vote-by-mail ballot must be postmarked or dated by Election Day and received within 10 days of the election in order to be counted, provided the ballot is otherwise proper,” states Florida’s election information site. “This 10-day extension only applies in presidential preference primary elections, general elections, and special elections and special primary elections (by operation of section 100.191, F.S.)”

Florida officials have also noted that they have not seen any evidence of voter fraud taking place.

[Mediaite]

Trump Baselessly Alleges Florida Election Fraud in Wild Rant: ‘You Notice the Votes Never Go the Other Way…’

During a White House pool spray on Friday morning, President Donald Trump went off on a wild rant baselessly floating the idea of foul play in the narrow elections in Florida for Senate and Governor — which soon spun off into a rant about corruption at large.

Speaking with reporters before departing for Paris, Trump baselessly claimed that votes tend to go for Democrats in contested elections.

“You notice the votes never go the other way?” Trump said. “They hire lawyers, and the votes don’t ever seem to go the Republican way…I don’t know. You tell me. It’s always the Democrats.”

Those comments led to the rant about “crooked stuff.”

“It’s always GPS Fusion,” the president said. “It’s always crooked stuff. Look at what happened. How many FBI are gone, how many Justice Department people are gone that I found out?…There’s a lot of bad stuff going on in this country, and we’re finding out. And I’m getting to the bottom of it. And I’ve done a hell of a job.”

[Mediaite]

Trump and Rick Scott Spread Claims of Fraud Without Evidence

Days after midterm voting, as ballots are still being counted, Republican lawmakers holding onto tight leads in midterm states are alleging foul play and voter fraud. The claims were amplified by President Trump, without evidence, on Friday morning.

“You mean they are just now finding votes in Florida and Georgia — but the Election was on Tuesday?” he wrote in a tweet. “Let’s blame the Russians and demand an immediate apology from President Putin!”

Current Florida Gov. Rick Scott, locked in a tight Senate race, said in a press conference Thursday night that “the people of Florida deserve fairness and transparency and the supervisors are failing to give it to us.”

“Every Floridian should be concerned there may be rampant voter fraud in Palm Beach and Broward Counties,” he said. “I will not sit idly by while unethical liberals try to steal this election from the great people of Florida.”

Scott’s race against Democratic incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson seems to be headed toward triggering a mandatory recount. Florida law says any race within a 0.5 percent margin must go to a recount, and as of 9 a.m. Friday, Nelson trailed Scott by 0.18 percent.

Previous claims of widespread voter fraud, including Trump’s claim that millions of people voted illegally in the 2016, are considered false by voting experts. One investigation, published in 2014, found 31 possible cases of in-person voter fraud out of more than a billion ballots cast over a 14 year period.

Scott claimed victory Tuesday night and has filed lawsuits against two county elections officials, in Palm Beach and Broward Counties, alleging their offices have withheld voting records.

Nelson’s election attorney Marc Elias tweeted Friday that “as the counties continue their work, I expect that margin will narrow further. And then the State will conduct an orderly recount.”

Trump has a history of calling out fraud, without providing evidence to back up his claims. No widespread claim of voter fraud by the president has ever been proven true. Trump even created a commission to investigate alleged fraud after the 2016 election, but it dissolved without releasing any findings.

“They’re finding votes out of nowhere, and Rick Scott who won by — it was close, but he won by a comfortable margin, he easily won but every hour it seems to be going down,” Trump said outside the White House Friday. “I think that people have to look at it very, very cautiously.”

In the case of Florida still counting ballots more than 48 hours after polls closed, David Becker, the executive director for the Center for Election Innovation and Research, told NPR it is extremely common for a voting jurisdiction to be taking as long as Broward County is.

“Election officials are literally just counting the ballots. This isn’t corruption or fraud,” Becker said. “It is literally the best of democracy. Let election officials do their job and count the ballots.”

[NPR]

Trump Uses ‘Enemy of the People’ Line Attacking ‘Fake News’ to Cheers at FL Rally

Once again President Donald Trump used the line “enemy of the people” to attack the “fake news” at his Florida rally tonight.

Trump opened by talking about his visit to Pittsburgh and bashing the media for critical coverage of the visit.

He moved on and talked about the great “movement” of his supporters, but as he listed successes of his administration, he went back to attacking the press:

“We have forcefully condemned hatred, bigotry, racism, and prejudice in all of its ugly forms, but the media doesn’t want you to hear your story. It’s not my story, it’s your story. And that’s why 33 percent of the people in this country believe the fake news is, in fact––and I hate to say this––in fact, the enemy of the people.”

The crowd cheered.

Trump went on to say that the media should stop stoking resentment.

[Mediaite]

Trump Calls Tallahassee ‘One of the Worst & Most Corrupt’ Cities in America

President Donald Trump tweeted out his support for a Republican candidate that also took a swipe at Tallahassee, Florida.

Trump supports Ron DeSantis, the Republican congressman running for governor in Florida against Democrat Andrew Gillum. Gillum is the mayor of Tallahassee, and Trump tweeted a dig at the city this morning:

“His opponent runs one of the worst & most corrupt cities in USA!”

Trump is likely referring to the ongoing FBI investigation into corruption in Tallahassee, which has become the subject of one of DeSantis’ ads. A spokesperson for Gillum responded to DeSantis by saying the Democratic candidate is “not a subject of the FBI investigation.”

[Mediaite]

Protesters Escorted Out of Trump Rally in Tampa

President Donald Trump‘s rally in Tampa tonight was briefly disrupted by two protesters.

Rallygoers booed and cameras picked up the protesters being escorted out of the venue.

The President briefly riffed and said, “One person. And tomorrow the headlines will be MASSIVE PROTEST.”

[Mediaite]

Trump says ‘polls are fake’ before bragging about poll showing his popularity

President Trump declared during a rally in Florida on Tuesday night that “polls are fake” before bragging about a poll that he claims found he is the most popular Republican president since Abraham Lincoln.

Trump at the campaign-style rally first accused the news media of suppressing polls that indicate positive numbers about his presidency.

“Polls are fake, just like everything else,” Trump declared during the rally in Tampa, echoing his attacks on “fake news.”

He said if the “fake news” did a poll, they would report only 25 percent of Americans have 401(k) accounts, though the correct number is around 44 percent.

He paused, then launched into a tirade about the poll that he says indicates his popularity as a Republican president.

“They just came out with a poll – the most popular person in the history of the Republican Party is Trump! Can you believe that?” he said.

“So I said, does that include Honest Abe Lincoln? He was pretty good, huh?” he continued.

It is unclear which poll Trump is referring to for his claim, which he has repeated several times in recent weeks.

While Trump’s overall approval has remained well below his predecessors, a Gallup poll released in July found that 90 percent of Republicans approved of Trump, which would make him one of the most popular modern presidents with his own party during his first term.

Still, former President George W. Bush had a higher approval rating among Republicans after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, according to the poll, which stretches back to the Eisenhower administration.

[The Hill]

Media

Trump claims picture ID is required to buy groceries

President Trump on Tuesday made the claim that a photo ID is required to buy groceries as part of his argument for introducing stricter voter ID laws.

“You know if you go out and you want to buy groceries, you need a picture on a card,” he said. “You need ID.”

The president made the comment while speaking at a campaign rally in Florida in support of GOP Rep. Ron DeSantis’s gubernatorial bid. It came as he was pushing for stronger voter ID laws, pointing to other instances where an American would need to show identification.

[The Hill]

Media

Trump Says Florida Students Should Have Done More To Prevent Deadly Shooting

President Donald Trump on Thursday responded to the massacre at a South Florida high school by suggesting students and the surrounding community could have done more to prevent the attack.

At least 17 people were killed and 15 injured after a troubled former student opened fire on Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Wednesday, police said. Nikolas Cruz, 19, had been expelled from the school the previous year for “disciplinary reasons,” and many of his former classmates told media on Wednesday that he displayed problematic behavior.

“Honestly a lot of people were saying it was going to be him,” one student told CBS Miami. “We actually, a lot of kids threw jokes around like that, saying that he’s the one to shoot up the school, but it turns out everyone predicted it. It’s crazy.”

A former teacher, Jim Gard, told the Miami Herald that Cruz reportedly wasn’t allowed to carry a backpack on the school campus, and that “there were problems with him last year threatening students.”

Contrary to Trump’s tweet, it does appear that authorities were aware of Cruz’s behavior before the attack. A former neighbor told The New York Times that Cruz’s late mother called the police on her two sons on multiple occasions, though she stressed that she didn’t think the boys were violent. Broward County Mayor Beam Furr told CNN that Cruz had been treated at a mental health clinic in the past and  was somewhat on officials’ radar.

“It wasn’t like there wasn’t concern for him,” Furr said.

Trump’s tweet failed to acknowledge the role that Florida’s lax gun laws played in the shooting. Barring institutionalization, it’s extremely difficult to keep someone with a history of mental illness from buying a gun in Florida. The accused killer legally purchased the AR-15-style rifle used in the slaughter, his family’s attorney said.
The president also ignored the fact that he actually made it easier for people with mental health issues to buy guns by revoking an Obama-era gun regulation last year.

[Huffington Post]

Trump escalates ‘rigged system’ rhetoric amid Russia probe

President Donald Trump’s escalating assault on the “rigged” and “sick” institutions of the government that he leads may portend an ominous end game to special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

Trump’s blast at a campaign rally on Friday night followed a week of rising attacks on Mueller and the FBI from pro-Trump media outlets and personalities and prominent conservatives in Congress.

The President did not name Mueller at the boisterous event in Pensacola, Florida, avoiding specific attacks on the probe after a flurry of furious tweets last weekend may have deepened his political and legal exposure.

But he enriched his building narrative that unnamed forces within the US government were thwarting his administration, just days after unloading on the FBI on Twitter, when he said the bureau’s reputation was in “tatters.”

“This is a rigged system. This is a sick system from the inside. And, you know, there is no country like our country but we have a lot of sickness in some of our institutions,” Trump told the crowd in Florida.

Not the first time

It is not the first time that Trump has made such arguments — he complained against the “rigged” system during last year’s election in a gambit seen at the time as a face-saving hedge against a possible loss to Hillary Clinton.

But the context has changed. Trump is now the head of the government that he is accusing of conspiring against him politically. Therefore, his attacks against US government institutions, including the FBI, but which have also included the wider intelligence community and the judiciary are far more polarizing politically and risk causing long-term damage to already fragile trust in government.

They could even have constitutional implications since Trump is attacking the very system set up to constrain presidential power and to ensure integrity at the pinnacle of US government.

The timing of the assault is unlikely to be an accident.

The new intensity in attacks against Mueller and the FBI followed the plea deal reached by fired national security adviser Michael Flynn last week, that could see him testify against key figures in the President’s inner circle.

Trump responded to the rising threat by suggesting that there was something corrupt in a system that indicted Flynn but did not prosecute his former election rival over her email server.

“So General Flynn lies to the FBI and his life is destroyed, while Crooked Hillary Clinton, on that now famous FBI holiday ‘interrogation’ with no swearing in and no recording, lies many times…and nothing happens to her?” Trump tweeted. “Rigged system, or just a double standard?”

Trump’s return to the “rigged” system rhetoric reflects his consistent political strategy of seeking enemies against which to define himself. It also plays into the suspicions of his supporters by casting himself as a outsider innocent of wrongdoing who is being persecuted by an elite establishment which has gamed Washington power for itself.
But it also has serious implications for the Mueller probe.

It’s possible that the former FBI director concludes that there was no evidence of collusion by the Trump campaign during the election, and the President did not obstruct justice in the firing of his successor at the bureau James Comey.

But given the Flynn plea deal, it appears clear he has bigger targets than the former national security adviser in his sights.

In that light, attacks by Trump and the GOP on Mueller and the bureau could be an attempt to discredit any eventual conclusions that Mueller might deliver to Congress — be they favorable or unfavorable to the President.

The simultaneous political and media campaign against Mueller, meanwhile, is raising concerns that the President has embarked on an attempt to solidify his political base and frame a political rationale for supporters in Congress to oppose any eventual move toward impeachment. The idea would be that if the system of legal accountability represented by Mueller and the FBI is “rigged” and “sick,” it cannot be trusted to deliver a fair verdict on the President, a conceit that has staggering political implications.

[CNN]

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