The president’s comments are among his most unambiguous yet that he is embracing an aggressive legal strategy in an election that has already been beset with a multitude of lawsuits.
Republicans have been mostly unsuccessful in their efforts to limit expanded voting options during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, The Washington Post reported, including in a Supreme Court decision last week allowing Pennsylvania and North Carolina to count ballots cast before Election Day but received days later.
Trump has repeatedly taken the Supreme Court to task for those decisions, a grievance he aired again Sunday evening amid a whirlwind trip of five rallies in five swing states.
“I happen to think it was a terrible decision for our country made by the Supreme Court,” Trump told reporters before his rally in Hickory, N.C. “And I think it’s a very dangerous decision.”
GOP strategists have now turned their attention to preparing to challenge the validity of individual ballots, an effort that Trump suggested Sunday would begin immediately after voting ends.
It’s not clear precisely where the president was promising a quick legal challenge. But his comments came amid a discussion of voting in the key swing state of Pennsylvania, where Trump alleged without evidence that extended deadlines to count mail-in ballots would lead to fraud.
“I think it’s terrible when we can’t know the results of an election the night of an election in a modern-day age of computers,” said Trump, before alleging that the Democratic governors of Pennsylvania and Nevada would somehow interfere with accurate counting.
He also suggested that voters were to blame by waiting too long to mail in ballots, although delivery delays by the U.S. Postal Service under a Trump-backed postmaster general have emerged as the biggest factor for most late arrivals.
“I don’t think it’s fair that we have to wait a long period of time after the election,” Trump said. “If people wanted to get their ballots in, they should have gotten their ballots long before. They could have put their ballots in a month ago.”
Asked about Trump’s comments, his campaign said he wants to see an accurate vote count.
“Everyone — including Joe Biden, the Democrat Party, the mainstream media, and the American public — should want election results they can trust and for every valid ballot to count,” Thea McDonald, a Trump campaign spokeswoman, said in a statement.