As Florida scrambles to complete recounts in three bitterly contested races, President Donald Trump on Monday demanded that two of the elections be called in favor of Rep. Ron DeSantis and Gov. Rick Scott—the Republican candidates in the respective gubernatorial and Senate elections.
Trump also claimed, without evidence, that the ballots had been “massively infected,” “missing,” or “forged.” The baseless claims come on the heels of his accusations last week that Democrats were attempting to “steal the election” with the recounts. As he failed to do last week, Trump on Monday did not offer any evidence supporting his assertions.
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. An honest vote count is no longer possible-ballots massively infected. Must go with Election Night!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 12, 2018
Many noted that Trump’s tweet, which came on Veterans Day, could essentially invalidate ballots cast by military members stationed abroad.
On Veterans Day, Trump is saying he doesn't want ballots from overseas military voters to count. They have until Nov 16 to be counted according to state law https://t.co/Ol1PjJGE38
— Ari Berman (@AriBerman) November 12, 2018
Trump’s claims are part of a larger Republican narrative suggesting that widespread voter fraud is tampering with Florida’s election results. As Mother Jones‘ Pema Levy reported, while there is no evidence to support those claims, the insinuations alone have done enough to cast significant doubt among voters. Here’s a scene from Sunday’s protest outside the office of the Broward County supervisor of elections:
One of the two people kept outside, a Broward County Republican Party official who gave her name as Michelle, was allowed inside the police perimeter but then not let inside. She came back out with a shocking allegation: The people inside had accused her of being a member of the Ku Klux Klan and turned her away. The woman refused to be interviewed by Mother Jones to explain the allegation, but it was relayed to a protester who told the KKK story through a megaphone. The crowd grew angrier.
Meanwhile, Democrats have insisted the recounts are aimed to ensure that every vote is counted. Election officials have until a state-mandated Thursday deadline to complete the recounts.