President Trump spent the eve of Election Day hinting that he and his lawyers are ready to aggressively challenge the election if he loses to Democratic rival Joe Biden, or if the results on Tuesday night are inconclusive, as they may well be.
The President took aim in particular at the Supreme Court’s decision last week allowing absentee ballots in Pennsylvania to be counted after Election Day so long as they are postmarked before, which he baselessly argued will lead to voter fraud.
Although the Court dealt a setback to Republicans in the state who requested that the justices reinstate an Election Day-deadline for absentee ballots to be received, the order only indicated that the court won’t review the case before the election, and left open the possibility of later action by the court.
It’s “a horrible thing,” the President said of the decision during an Election Eve campaign rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina. He then, without evidence, claimed that the SCOTUS decision on Pennsylvania heightens the risk of voter fraud.
“You know that puts our country in danger. Do you know what can happen during that long period of time, Pennsylvania? Do you know what can happen?” Trump told Fayetteville rally-goers. “Number one: cheating can happen like you’ve never seen. This is their dream. They are known for it. The Philadelphia area is known for it.”
Trump then warned the crowd in North Carolina that “what can happen during that long period of time is a disgrace,” before urging them to get their ballots in before Nov. 3 so that they can be counted before then. (States often take days to count ballots, and allow mail-in ballots that reach officials in the days after Election Day to be tallied so long as they were postmarked by Nov 3.)
The refrain has become a theme for Trump and his allies in the closing days of the campaign. On Sunday, Trump adviser Jason Miller suggested on ABC This Week that Trump would be the winner on election night, but that Democrats would try to “steal” the election in the days after. Axios reported that Trump planned to declare himself winner on election night, and Trump informed reporters that his lawyers were ready to go in “as soon as the election is over.”
Upon arriving in Wisconsin on Monday ahead of his rally in Kenosha, Trump continued to gripe about the Supreme Court ruling in Pennsylvania, telling reporters that he hopes the Supreme Court “has the wisdom” to change its decision to allow ballot counts in Pennsylvania after Election Day.
The President warned reporters that “bad things will happen” if the Supreme Court ruling on Pennsylvania ballots stays in place, referring again to his baseless claim that the order will lead to voter fraud. Moments later, he amped up the fear-mongering with an incendiary tweet predicting violence as a dire consequence of the SCOTUS order in the battleground state.
That prediction landed him a Twitter warning label, which prevents users from retweeting his misleading message.
The Supreme Court decision on voting in Pennsylvania is a VERY dangerous one. It will allow rampant and unchecked cheating and will undermine our entire systems of laws. It will also induce violence in the streets. Something must be done!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 3, 2020
During his rally in Kenosha, the self-proclaimed president of “law and order” told attendees that there will be “peace and order” on the condition that he wins re-election. He then recycled his gripes from earlier Monday.
“The whole world is waiting to find out and there’s great danger in that. Number one: there’s danger that there’s a lot of shenanigans that go on from that time forth. There’s a lot of shenanigans,” Trump told the Wisconsinites. “And then there’s a lot of bad things that can happen with the streets. You’re going to have a population that’s going to be very angry and you just can’t do that. That is such a dangerous decision. That is such a disappointment.”