The U.S. president does not cease to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the November 3 elections. Criticism of this also comes from Germany.
Keeps sowing doubts about the election process: US President Donald Trump Photo: Evan Vucci/ap
After U.S. President Donald Trump repeatedly sowed doubt in a press conference Wednesday about whether he would accept the outcome of the Nov. 3 presidential election even if he lost, the White House is seeking clarification. "The president will accept the results of a free and fair election," presidential spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany said Thursday when asked by reporters.
But the clarification didn’t last long: just hours later, Trump said in Washington, "We have to make sure the election is honest. But I don’t know if it can be," Trump said Thursday, referring to ballots sent by mail. Trump has been claiming for weeks that ballots mailed by the millions to U.S. citizens drastically increased the risk of election fraud. Experts and election officials dispute that.
Trump repeatedly told supporters he was convinced he could only lose the vote through voter fraud. On Wednesday, he refused to pledge in advance a peaceful transfer of power when asked by a reporter. "We have to wait and see what happens," he said instead.
And incidentally, he said, that is also why he must immediately appoint a successor to the late Chief Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, so that there can be no stalemate of 4-4 justices in the Supreme Court when the election is ultimately decided there.
Breakdown in Pennsylvania
"The Democrats are rigging our 2020 election!", Trump followed up on Twitter Friday night, linking to a report from his Fox News home network. In it, it is about a communication of the Department of Justice of the state of Pennsylvania, according to which nine discarded ballots had been discovered. The agency had initially said there were nine ballots for Trump, but later clarified that this was only certain for seven of them.
The other two, it said, had been in their matching envelopes when the FBI recovered them. They were ballots from military personnel, he said, and some could also be attributed to individuals. In Pennsylvania, the envelopes with ballots sent by mail must actually remain sealed until Election Day.
According to initial findings by investigators, employees of the local election authority opened the envelopes with the ballots because they looked very similar to envelopes with applications for absentee ballots. Trump, meanwhile, seized the opportunity to speak of irregularities. "They throw them away if it has Trump’s name on it, I guess," he said.
The Nov. 3 presidential election is expected to see a much higher-than-usual percentage of ballots sent by mail in light of the corona pandemic.
Trump’s remarks drew criticism from both Democrats and Republicans. The Senate, where Republicans hold a majority, passed a resolution Thursday pledging a peaceful transfer of power.
German foreign policy experts concerned about U.S. democracy
German foreign policy experts also reacted with concern. Omid Nouripour, foreign policy spokesman for the Green Party’s parliamentary group in the Bundestag, told Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland: "Once again, President Trump’s statements are fomenting division in the country, leading us to fear the worst for the days after the election." In the end, however, the courts decided in the U.S., should there be complaints about the election results.
Sevim Dagdelen, chairwoman of the left-wing parliamentary group in the Bundestag’s Foreign Affairs Committee, also sees Berlin as having a duty in an emergency: "Anyone who, like the German government, presses for democracy and the rule of law in other countries around the world must not make an exception in the case of the United States."
According to Gabriela Heinrich, deputy chairwoman of the SPD parliamentary group in the Bundestag, Trump must stop "laying the axe to the root of the American success story, which is associated with freedom and democracy."
Deputy chairman of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group Johann Wadephul conceded that Trump’s announcement showed disdain for democracy. Nevertheless, Wadephul told RND he has confidence in the laws of the United States. "I have no doubt that the constitutional structure of the United States with its system of checks and balances works."