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Trump blasts vote recount push joined by Clinton team

Though a recount of votes in the recently concluded presidential election is extremely unlikely to change the outcome, the process initiated by Jill Stein, the Green Party nominee, has slowly gathered attention, and, now, President-elect’s ire.

world Updated: Nov 27, 2016 21:05 IST
Yashwant Raj
Donald Trump on vote recount
US Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at a campaign event in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on March 28. (REUTERS FILE)

Though a recount of votes in the recently concluded presidential election is extremely unlikely to change the outcome, the process initiated by Jill Stein, the Green Party nominee, has slowly gathered attention, and, now, President-elect Donald Trump’s ire.

“The people have spoken and the election is over, and 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’,” he said in a statement on Saturday.

He slammed Clinton in a string of Tweets on Sunday, reminding her of her own words about accepting the outcome and moving on, citing her remarks at one of their presidential debates, and subsequently in her concession speech.

Trump also accused Stein of initiating the process to “fill her coffers with money, most of which she will never even spend on this ridiculous recount”. She had failed to make it on the ballot in some states and won less than 1% of the votes.

Stein started the process sometimes ago and began raising money to mount a recount in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, states considered to be the Democratic firewall that Trump breached to pull off a stunning upset.

She has raised $5.8 million of the $7 million needed as processing and legal fee for the process. The Clinton campaign needs to join the effort to have a legal representative present at the recount and monitor it.

A group of computer experts had urged the Clinton campaign to seek a recount in these states, claiming to have found discrepancy in votes that Clinton won in counties using electronic machines compared to those using optical scanners or ballots.

Trump paid little attention to the recount effort initially, and went about naming his cabinet or stoking speculation about contenders for various posts, till the Clinton campaign announced on Saturday it would be joining the recount push in Wisconsin.

Marc Elias, the Clinton campaign legal counsel, said in a statement they had no plans to call for a recount but now that it has been initiated, “we intend to participate in order to ensure the process proceeds in a manner that is fair to all sides”.

Stein sought the recount, telling supporters in an email, “after seeing compelling evidence of voting anomalies”. She picked Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania saying data there suggested “significant discrepancies in vote totals”.

A recount will most certainly not change her fortunes, but could help Clinton who lost those states by 27,257 (Wisconsin), 10,704 (Michigan) and 70,000 (Pennsylvania) votes; but she needs to win all three to make a difference.

Trump won the electoral college votes, but Clinton won more popular votes, which are still being counted — including postal ballots — and is likely to end up ahead of Trump by 2 million votes, yet that will not matter in the US presidential election system.

But by joining the recount, Clinton has left herself vulnerable to criticism that she was not willing to accept the outcome, something she had pressed Trump about when he refused to commit himself at one of their presidential debates.

Trump reminded her of it in a string of tweets Sunday morning. “Hillary’s debate answer on delay: “That is horrifying. That is not the way our democracy works. Been around for 240 years.”

And he concluded the twitter blast citing Clinton’s concession speech: “She then said, ‘We have to accept the results and look to the future, Donald … Trump is going to be our President. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead.’ So much time and money will be spent - same result! Sad.”