Donald Trump says push for election recounts is a ‘scam’

President-elect says the election is over and that the result must be respected

Dr Jill Stein, who ran as a candidate for the Green Party in the recent US election, explains her reasoning for requesting a recount in three states. Video: Facebook/Dr Jill Stein


President-elect Donald Trump condemned a growing push to force recounts in three states pivotal to his November 8th victory, confronting the Green Party-backed effort for the first time even as he worked to address key cabinet vacancies.

The New York billionaire, who charged the election was “rigged” on a daily basis before his victory, called the developing recount effort “a scam” in a statement released by his transition team.

Mr Trump had been ignoring Green Party nominee Jill Stein’s fight to revisit vote totals in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. Wisconsin officials announced late on Friday they are moving forward with the first presidential recount in state history.

“The people have spoken and the election is over,” Mr Trump declared on Saturday. He added: “We must accept this result and then look to the future.”

He later tweeted: “The Green Party scam to fill up their coffers by asking for impossible recounts is now being joined by the badly defeated & demoralized Dems”.

Mr Trump said: “The results of this election should be respected instead of being challenged and abused, which is exactly what Jill Stein is doing.”

He tweeted a few hours later: “The Democrats, when they incorrectly thought they were going to win, asked that the election night tabulation be accepted. Not so anymore!”

That was a response to Democratic rival Hillary Clinton formally joining the recount effort. Ms Stein, who drew 1 per cent of the vote nationally, is raising millions of dollars to fund the recounts.

“Because we had not uncovered any actionable evidence of hacking or outside attempts to alter the voting technology, we had not planned to exercise this option ourselves,” Clinton campaign lawyer Marc Elias said.

Pennsylvania and Michigan

“But now that a recount has been initiated in Wisconsin, we intend to participate in order to ensure the process proceeds in a manner that is fair to all sides.”

Mr Elias said Mrs Clinton would take the same approach in Pennsylvania and Michigan if Ms Stein were to follow through with recount requests in those states, even though that was highly unlikely to change the election outcome.

“Regardless of the potential to change the outcome in any of the states, we feel it is important, on principle, to ensure our campaign is legally represented in any court proceedings and represented on the ground in order to monitor the recount process itself,” Mr Elias said.

Mrs Clinton leads the national popular vote by close to two million votes, but Mr Trump won 290 electoral votes to Clinton’s 232, with Michigan still too close to call. It takes 270 to win the presidency.

Mr Trump is scrambling to address unfilled administration jobs, having barely scratched the surface of creating the massive team needed to run the government before his January 20 inauguration.

Experts say presidential transitions are periods of great vulnerability for the nation, and among the vacancies on the Trump team are leaders of the departments of state, defence and homeland security.


Mr Trump, who has virtually no experience in foreign affairs, offered a one-line tweet on Saturday morning in reaction to the death of Cuban leader Fidel Castro — “Fidel Castro is dead!” — before issuing a more detailed statement.

“While Cuba remains a totalitarian island, it is my hope that today marks a move away from the horrors endured for too long, and toward a future in which the wonderful Cuban people finally live in the freedom they so richly deserve,” he said.

His transition team did not respond to requests to clarify his Cuba policy, which was inconsistent during the campaign.

Mr Trump first suggested he supported President Barack Obama’s orders loosening the US trade embargo on the island.

He reversed himself less than a month before the election, however, vowing to overturn Mr Obama’s order unless Cuba meets demands including “religious and political freedom for the Cuban people and the freeing of political prisoners”.

The president-elect was spending the Thanksgiving holiday weekend with family at his Palm Beach estate, Mar-a-Lago. He had planned to focus on filling key administration posts over the working break.