Donald Trump won the electoral vote in the 2016 election, but with recounts pending and the gap between the popular and electoral vote growing, he made a startling declaration on Sunday evening. According to President-elect Donald Trump, he also won the popular vote -- at least, if you only count legal voters.
Trump has maintained throughout the election process that there is a problem with fraud, and that illegal votes are weighted to help Democrats get elected. In October, weeks before the election, Donald Trump was calling for supporters to "monitor" the election process -- according to the New York Times he specifically asked supporters to "watch other communities, because we don't want this election stolen from us."
Whatever President-elect Trump's intentions, this has been widely read as a racially prejudiced statement -- a call to watch people who look different, people who look as though they might be Hispanic or otherwise immigrants.
He tweeted then about the risk of fraudulent voters "stealing" the election from him.However, on election night, narratives were flipped when Donald Trump emerged as the winner of the electoral vote. Since then, there has been public discussion about faithless electors and the possibility of flipping the election, and about Clinton's increasing lead in the popular vote.
As of Friday, NPR reports that Donald Trump trails behind Hillary Clinton in the popular vote by more than 2 million votes.
"(64.4 million to 62.3 million), the widest gap in raw vote in the history of the handful of times when the popular vote went the opposite direction as the Electoral College."
Now, there's another challenge to Trump's win: Green Party candidate Jill Stein has raised the cash to request recounts, beginning in Wisconsin. Trump had little to say about this until Clinton's campaign announced an intent to participate in the recount.
To be clear, the campaign did not accuse Trump or his supporters of any fraud -- in fact, CNN reports that a spokesperson for the Clinton campaign, Brian Fallon, said he'd seen no evidence of any vote tampering, and that the campaign had not planned to pursue recounts, but that they felt it was appropriate to be a part of the conversation if recounts are happening.
Sunday evening, Donald Trump released a tweet-storm, quoting Clinton's statement from post-election, in which she asked the public to accept the Trump presidency and move forward, and a previous statement in which she called any possibility of Trump and his supporters refusing to accept election results "truly horrifying."
Then returning to a long-standing narrative, Trump openly declared himself the winner of not only the electoral, but the popular vote -- alleging that if there was any voter fraud, it was on the part of the Democratic party.It seems Trump isn't confident that asking his supporters to watch polls prevented widespread fraud.
Then, seeming to negate this assertion, he added that he could have won the popular vote, if he had chosen a different campaign angle.Trump has also made other references to calls by Clinton and President Obama for the public to accept the election night counts, and to the reversal of position on that matter.The rest of Trump's tweeted statement on Clinton camp's decision to be a part of recounts, after calling for the public to accept the results follows:Though Trump has said the recount will change nothing, it appears to be moving forward in at least one state. If the Donald Trump campaign has serious concerns that there were illegally placed votes, perhaps the recount can clear any muddy waters for him as well as his opposition.
[Featured Image by Mark Wilson/Getty Images]