Trump’s talk of rigged election grabs the spotlight
Donald Trump’s talk of a rigged election grabbed the spotlight on Sunday, as supporters of both major-party presidential nominees defended their candidates’ positions.
In the past few days, the GOP nominee has been pushing the idea that the election is rigged against him. Trump has claimed the media is working with Hillary Clinton’s campaign to ensure a victory for the Democratic nominee.
On Sunday afternoon, Trump used Twitter to continue to escalate the claims his surrogates focused on during the Sunday news shows.
The claim comes after multiple women came forward in the past week to accuse the GOP nominee of past sexual misconduct – allegations Trump and his campaign have strongly and repeatedly denied.
On Sunday, Clinton’s campaign tried to frame the GOP nominee’s remarks as a tactic of desperation, rolled out as Trump sinks in the polls, even as it works to quell his claims that the election is rigged.
On the other side, Trump’s supporters echoed and defended the GOP nominee’s statements about a rigged election, accusing the media of outright bias and calling for extra measures to ensure a fair contest.
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, the GOP vice presidential nominee, on Sunday continued to put forth the idea the election is being rigged against the Republican ticket.
But he said he and his running mate will “absolutely” accept the results of the general election.
“The American people will speak in an election that will culminate on Nov. 8,” Pence, the GOP vice presidential nominee, said in an interview that aired Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“But the American people are tired of the obvious bias in the national media. That’s where this sense of a rigged election goes here.”
Pence unleashed a strong attack on the media, saying it pushes negative stories about Trump instead of focusing on “the real hard evidence” against Clinton.
“It’s why people are frustrated,” Pence said.
But the Indiana governor said he doesn’t expect the campaign’s talk of a rigged election to undermine the election results. The “peaceful transfer of power” is one of the great traditions in this country, he said, noting elections are normally “pretty rough.”
“But between now and Election Day, we’re going to work our hearts out against all odds, against most of you in the national media,” Pence said.
“We’re going to go lay out a story for a stronger, more prosperous America.”
Former Speaker Newt Gingrich went even a step further, echoing Trump’s call that election sites be monitored on Nov. 8.
“Without the unending, one-sided assault of the news media, Trump would be beating [Democratic nominee] Hillary Clinton by 15 points,” the Trump supporter said in an interview with ABC’s “This Week.”
“So to suggest to us that people who are concerned about honest elections are somehow nutty, I think is a mistake.”
The former speaker admitted he doesn’t think the elections are being rigged “at the precinct level,” but added voters should monitor polling places to ensure the election is fair.
“I remember when Richard Nixon had the election stolen in 1960, and no serious historian doubts that Illinois and Texas were stolen,” Gingrich said.
“So to suggest that, we have, you don’t have theft in Philadelphia is to deny reality.”
On the other side, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) slammed the Republican nominee for such claims. He said Trump has started to go “wilder and wilder” since losing the first two debates.
“He started to make wild claims, kind of scorched-Earth claims about the election being rigged,” Kaine, the Democratic vice presidential nominee, said on ABC’s “This Week.”
“He shouldn’t be engaging in those scare tactics.”
The Virginia senator rejected the idea the election is being rigged, calling for everybody to push the message that “we run elections and we run them well here.”
“We ask the GOP leaders also to stand up for the integrity of the American electoral process,” he said.
Kaine also criticized the Republican nominee for using diversionary tactics in the wake of the recent sexual misconduct allegations against him.
“He is swinging at every phantom of his own imagination because he knows he’s losing,” Kaine said.
The Virginia senator said Clinton’s campaign has nothing to do with the multiple women who have come forward, but called it “characteristic” of Trump that he is now blaming those women and calling the election rigged.
“He’s making weird claims that, no, I couldn’t have assaulted this person, she’s not attractive enough to assault. How bizarre is that?” Kaine asked.
“He’s blaming the media; he’s blaming the GOP; he’s saying that America can’t run a fair election. And this is what bullies do.”
Trump’s sharp attacks on the media and his oft-repeated claim that the election is rigged come after the release earlier this month of a 2005 tape in which the GOP nominee talks about how he can grope and kiss women without their consent because of his celebrity status.
During last Sunday’s second presidential debate, which came a few days after the revelation, denied he ever acted the way he talked about on the tape.
But since its release, multiple women have come forward accusing the GOP nominee of past incidents of uninvited groping or kissing.
This weekend, the GOP nominee sought to put blame on Clinton and the media for publicizing the accusations against him. He said the media is pushing information that “may poison the minds of the American voters.”
He also tweeted that nothing happened with any of his accusers and said the allegations were “totally made up nonsense to steal the election.”
He Trump continued to escalate his claims on Twitter Sunday afternoon.
“Election is being rigged by the media, in a coordinated effort with the Clinton campaign, by putting stories that never happened into news!” the GOP nominee tweeted.