Donald Trump has blasted the recount effort launched last week by the Green Party in Wisconsin which on Saturday attracted the formal support also of Hillary Clinton.
From his Palm Beach retreat in Florida, Mr Trump issued a lengthy rebuke of the initiative calling it “ridiculous” and a “scam” that had been launched purely to benefit the Green Party’s nominee, Jill Stein, and “fill her coffers with money”.
So far Ms Stein has raised close to $6 million through crowdfunding to pay to petition for recounts of the election results in three states. The request for a recount was submitted to the election authorities in Wisconsin on Friday. If she reaches her goal of raising $7 million in total she will be able to make similar filings to Pennsylvania and Michigan next week.
“This recount is just a way for Jill Stein, who received less than one percent of the vote overall and wasn’t even on the ballot in many states, to fill her coffers with money, most of which she will never even spend on this ridiculous recount,” Mr Trump railed. “All three states were won by large numbers of voters, especially Pennsylvania, which was won by more than 70,000 votes.”
In Pennsylvania, which has 20 Electoral College votes, Mr Trump in fact won by roughly 68,000 votes, and in Wisconsin, which has ten such votes, his margin was even smaller: just 27,000. Michigan, which carries 14 votes, is still too close to call, with the difference between the two candidates amounting to fewer than 12,000.
On Saturday, the Clinton campaign revealed in a posting on Medium, the online publishing platform, that although it has found no evidence of any external manipulation or tampering of voting systems in any of the states, it will participate in the process that the Green Party started.
The development appeared to get under the skin of Mr Trump, though most of his ire was focused on Ms Stein. “This is a scam by the Green Party for an election that has already been conceded, and the results of this election should be respected instead of being challenged and abused, which is exactly what Jill Stein is doing,” he said.
However, the statement opened with an implied charge of hypocrisy on the part Ms Clinton also. “The people have spoken and the election is over, and as Hillary Clinton herself said on election night, in addition to her conceding by congratulating me, 'We must accept this result and then look to the future.’”
There is some irony to the situation, given how often Ms Clinton and her allies admonished Mr Trump before election day to respect the results when they came in. He had repeatedly called the system rigged and Ms Clinton was certain that she would be the victor on 8 November.
Announcing the campaign’s decision to join the recount efforts, the chief counsel to the Clinton campaign, Marc Elias, made clear that it would not have taken the route itself without Ms Stein starting the process first.
“Because we had not uncovered any actionable evidence of hacking or outside attempts to alter the voting technology, we had not planned to exercise this option ourselves, but now that a recount has been initiated in Wisconsin, we intend to participate in order to ensure the process proceeds in a manner that is fair to all sides,” Mr Elias wrote in his Medium post.
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