Donald Trump panned recent vote recount efforts, led by the Green Party’s Jill Stein in three critical states, as a “scam” meant to “fill [Stein’s] coffers with money” after the general election.
In a statement Saturday sent out by his transition team, Mr. Trump charged that the Green Party recount requests in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania were “ridiculous.”
“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.
In a tweet a few hours later, Trump called the recount effort a scam by the Green Party to “fill up their coffers.”
Stein, who has raised more than $5.8 million by Saturday afternoon, has already filed for a recount in Wisconsin, where the president-elect’s vote margin over Hillary Clinton is just over 27,000 ballots. On Saturday, the Clinton campaign announced its intention to participate in the recount efforts in that state and in Pennsylvania and Michigan, where the Green Party also plans to raise challenges to the vote totals. The Stein campaign estimates that the costs of auditing ballots could run up to $7 million.
The president-elect predicted that most of the cash raised by Stein won’t be spent on what he called a “ridiculous recount.” He added that “all three states were won by large numbers of voters, especially Pennsylvania, which was won by more than 70,000 votes.”
But according to CBS News’ tally, in Pennsylvania, Clinton actually trailed Mr. Trump by about 68,000 votes, while Michigan is still too close to call.
The recount attempts come after the general election season’s lengthy debate over conceding the results to the rightful winner.
During one presidential debate in October, Mr. Trump was asked if he would concede a lost race to Clinton.
“I will look at it at the time,” the then-GOP nominee said, pushing claims that the election was “rigged” against him. At the same debate, Clinton called Mr. Trump’s answer “horrifying,” adding that he was “talking down our democracy.”
Now, Mr. Trump is calling for an end to the election challenges.
“The people have spoken and the election is over,” he wrote. “[A]nd 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.’”
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