Trump tries to backpedal after his call for supporters to vote twice sparks outrage
President Trump on Thursday walked back his suggestion that Americans should vote twice in November’s election after the shocking claim prompted a widespread backlash.
In a string of all-caps tweets, Trump said he doesn’t actually want people to vote twice — which is illegal — even though he told a crowd of supporters in North Carolina on Wednesday that they should.
Instead, Trump suggested his initial claim had been misinterpreted and that he only wants voters to double-check that their ballots have been counted if they cast them by mail in the November election.
“On Election Day, or Early Voting, go to your Polling Place to see whether or not your Mail In Vote has been Tabulated (Counted). If it has you will not be able to Vote & the Mail In System worked properly. If it has not been Counted, VOTE (which is a citizen’s right to do),” Trump wrote. “YOU ARE NOW ASSURED THAT YOUR PRECIOUS VOTE HAS BEEN COUNTED, it hasn’t been ’lost, thrown out, or in any way destroyed.’ GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!”
However, Trump’s tweet doesn’t match up with what he said Wednesday.
Speaking before a crowd of supporters in Wilmington, N.C., Trump said people should try to cast ballots both by mail and in-person to push the limits of mail-in voting.
“Let them send it in and let them go vote, and if their system’s as good as they say it is, then obviously they won’t be able to vote,” Trump said. “If it’s as good as they say it is, then obviously they won’t be able to vote. If it isn’t tabulated, they’ll be able to vote. So that’s the way it is. And that’s what they should do.”
Deliberately casting more than one ballot in a U.S. election amounts to voter fraud, which is a felony in North Carolina.
Still, Attorney General William Barr, the nation’s top law enforcement official, refused to condemn Trump’s comments, telling CNN in an interview late Wednesday that he doesn’t “know what the law of a particular state says.”
Ironically, Trump has for months pushed baseless accusations that expanded mail-in voting in November’s election will result in widespread voter fraud beneficial to Joe Biden and Democrats.
There’s no evidence for Trump’s fraud fretting.
Mail-in ballots have actually proved remarkably secure, and many states are expanding access to them this year to make voting safer amid the coronavirus pandemic.
North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein, a Democrat, didn’t buy Trump’s walk-back and called it outrageous for the president to encourage people to “break the law in order to help him sow chaos in our election.”
“Make sure you vote, but do NOT vote twice!” Stein tweeted. “I will do everything in my power to make sure the will of the people is upheld in November.”
Stein’s counterpart in Michigan put it more bluntly and took a shot at Trump over one of his most outrageous proposals for curing coronavirus.
“Don’t try this at home,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel tweeted. “I will prosecute you. Also, this might be a good time to remind people not to drink bleach.”