Republican candidate Donald Trump said on Monday he expected widespread voter fraud in the Nov. 8 U.S. presidential election, ramping up his warning of a rigged election.
“Of course there is large scale voter fraud happening on and before election day. Why do Republican leaders deny what is going on? So naive!” Trump said on Twitter on Monday.
Trump, a New York businessman making his first run for public office, has worried a number of Republicans over his allegations of election fraud. Some of them have urged Trump to show proof publicly or drop the assertions. Early voting and voting by mail have already begun in many states.
While Trump’s vice presidential running mate, Mike Pence, and his campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, have tried to reshape the candidate’s comments as being aimed at an unfair news media, Trump’s own words have targeted the legitimacy of the election system.
Even after Pence said in a televised interview on Sunday that Trump would accept the results of next month’s election, Trump tweeted that the “election is absolutely being rigged by the dishonest and distorted media pushing Crooked Hillary – but also at many polling places – SAD.”
Trump has tried to portray Clinton, a former U.S. senator and secretary of state, as a corrupt lifelong politician who is vested in preserving the status quo.
His campaign pounced on the release Monday of FBI documents that cited an FBI official as saying a senior State Department official sought to pressure the bureau in 2015 to drop its insistence that an email from Clinton’s private server contained classified information. Clinton’s decision to use a private server while secretary of state from 2009-13 has drawn criticism that she was careless with national security.
REPUBLICANS COUNTER FRAUD CHARGES
The country’s top elected Republican, House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, has tried to counter Trump’s message about election fraud. Spokeswoman AshLee Strong said on Monday that Ryan “is fully confident the states will carry out this election with integrity.”