President-elect Donald Trump took to his favorite social media platform Sunday to issue thus-far baseless claims of voter fraud and to send a stream of tweets indicating that the Hillary Clinton campaign’s involvement in an election recount was hypocritical.
Trump, who himself implied that he would not concede the election during the campaign if he had lost, used his Twitter account to declare that “Nothing will change.” He also reiterated that Clinton had already conceded the election.
Trump, however, also effectively offered his own support for the recount, providing a seemingly baseless allegation that he would have won the popular vote “if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.” In another tweet, he said without evidence that there was “serious voter fraud” in Virginia, New Hampshire and California.
California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, a Democrat charged with ensuring the state’s vote goes smoothly, called Trump’s claims “absurd” and “reckless.”
“It appears that Mr. Trump is troubled by the fact that a growing majority of Americans did not vote for him,” Padilla said in a statement tweeted on his personal account. “His unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud in California and elsewhere are absurd. His reckless tweets are inappropriate and unbecoming of a President-elect.”
It was unclear Sunday night where Trump got the ideas for his tweets or why he waited until Green Party Candidate Jill Stein’s recount request in Wisconsin to raise the issue. Voting illegally is difficult, as Trump illustrated in a 2004 video in which he was turned away from three voting locations.
The president-elect said he could have had an easier campaign had he pursued the popular vote instead of the Electoral College. According to his Twitter account, the future commander-in-chief said he would have only had to campaign in three or four states instead of the numerous states he visited.
In the past, Trump has come out against the Electoral College. Previously, on Twitter of course, he called the institution “a disaster for democracy.” He also told Mitt Romney supporters via tweet in 2012 to “fight like hell” after Romney’s loss, as he incorrectly believed the Electoral College had allowed President Obama to win.
President Obama won both the popular vote and the Electoral College by large margins in 2008 and 2012.
Earlier Sunday, Trump directed his tweets at Clinton, quoting three instances via six tweets in which Clinton slammed Trump for suggesting he would not accept the election results.
Trump was responding to the Clinton campaign’s announcement that they intend to back the statewide presidential election recount effort taking place in Wisconsin, which was led by Green Party candidate Jill Stein. Marc Elias, a Clinton campaign lawyer, said they would involve themselves to ensure a “fair” process for all involved.
Stein said she also intends to pursue recounts in Pennsylvania and Michigan, though she also stated on Twitter that she would “do a recount in any state where the deadline has not passed.”
Stein’s campaign is trying to raise as much as $7 million for the effort online — and it had garnered more than $6 million as of Saturday evening.
Stein also took some shots at Clinton’s interest in the election recount, tweeting:
“Why would Hillary Clinton — who conceded the election to Donald Trump — want #Recount2016? You cannot be on-again, off-again about democracy.”
Donald Trump’s top aides on Sunday also denounced the recount effort.
“It is a total and complete hypocritical joke that the group of people that thought that they were nervous about President-elect Trump not conceding are the people that are conducting recounts in states where we won by over 68,000 votes,” said incoming Trump Chief of Staff Reince Priebus on “Fox News Sunday.”
Former campaign manager Kellyanne Conway also slammed the recount effort on CNN’s “State of the Union,” where she referenced the backlash over Trump’s refusal to say he’d accept the election results during the third general election debate as evidence of hypocrisy on the part of Democrats now supporting the recount.
Multiple media analysts have opined that president-elect might be using his Twitter account to distract from more serious news, such as the New York Times investigation into Trump’s potential conflicts of interest around the world.