President Donald Trump on Friday called the delay in tallying ballots in Florida “a disgrace” and sought to tie the ongoing vote count to a conspiracy he claimed exists to undermine Republicans by Democratic operatives.
Speaking to reporters before he left for Paris for a World War I commemoration, Trump slammed the hold-up in Democratic-leaning Broward and Palm Beach counties that’s thrown the state’s gubernatorial and Senate races into flux. The two counties are in their third day of reporting votes, and Broward, which has a history of controversial vote-counting processes, still has not offered an estimate of the amount of outstanding provisional and absentee ballots it has yet to count.
Asked Friday if the federal government would step in, Trump said that there “could be” involvement.
“If you look at Broward, and Palm Beach to a lesser extent, if you look at Broward County, they have had a horrible history and if you look at the person, in this case the woman, involved, she has had a horrible history,” Trump said, referring to Brenda Snipes, Broward’s election supervisor who Gov. Rick Scott, the GOP Senate candidate, sued this week for access to ballot information.
“All of a sudden they’re finding votes out of nowhere,” Trump claimed Friday, noting that Scott’s lead in the Senate race has been narrowing with each batch of votes reported by the two heavily Democratic counties. The Senate race, as well as the governors race and a race for state agriculture commissioner, are now within close enough margins to trigger an automatic recount under Florida election laws.
Trump said that the situation should be “cautiously” examined because of what he said was a suspect hiring by Scott’s opponent, Sen. Bill Nelson.
As part of the recount effort, Nelson retained attorney Marc Elias, who has ties to former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. Elias was responsible for hiring the opposition research firm Fusion GPS, which hired a former British intelligence officer who compiled a dossier full of salacious and unverified claims that insinuate the Russian government is in possession of compromising information on Trump.
“And then you see the people and they were involved with that fraud of the fake dossier, the phony dossier,” Trump said Friday. “I guess I hear they were somehow involved or worked with the GPS Fusion people, who have committed … what they’ve done, I mean you look at the dishonesty.”
In a tweet aboard Air Force One, Trump called Elias Democrats’ “best Election stealing lawyer,” and claimed that it was only after Elias arrived that Broward “miraculously started finding Democrat votes,” while offering no proof to support either accusation.
“[Scott] easily won but every hour it seems to be going down, I think that people have to look at it very very cautiously,” he said to reporters earlier.
The president continued to harp on the issues in Florida and on a similar controversy in Georgia’s still-undecided governors race, appearing to joke that the discrepancy could be attributed to Russian interference.
“You mean they are just now finding votes in Florida and Georgia – but the Election was on Tuesday? Let’s blame the Russians and demand an immediate apology from President Putin,” he wrote in a tweet.
In a subsequent Twitter post, Trump urged Floridians not to worry. “I am sending much better lawyers to expose the FRAUD!” he wrote.