President Donald Trump has denied suggestions he could attempt to declare the election result early, though has bemoaned potential delays and vowed legal intervention over late ballots being counted.
Axios reported that Trump has expressed plans to declare victory Tuesday night if he appears to be ahead, citing three sources “familiar with his private comments”—though the president has said these suggestions are false.
It comes amid the prospect of results not being finalized due to certain states being able to accept and then count mail-in ballots that arrive late. Pennsylvania, which could potentially be key to determining the election result, is one such state.
After denying the early declaration reports, Trump went on to brand it a “terrible thing” that ballots could be collected after Election Day in some states and said that it is a “very dangerous, terrible thing.”
“And I think it’s terrible when we can’t know the results of an election the night of the election in a modern-day age of computers. I think it’s a terrible thing,” he said, bemoaning recent Supreme Court decisions regarding late-arriving ballots.
“And I think it’s a very dangerous decision because you’re going to have one or two or three states, depending on how it ends up, where they’re tabulating ballots, and the rest of the world is waiting to find out. And I think there’s great danger to it, and I think a lot of fraud and misuse could take place. I think it’s a terrible decision by the Supreme Court—a terrible decision.”
#BREAKING: Trump slams SCOTUS for “terrible decision” to allow ballots to be counted if they arrive after election day.
“We’re going to go in night of, as soon as that election is over, we’re going in with our lawyers. – We don’t want [Dem Governors] watching ballots come in…” pic.twitter.com/wf5lSji8LS
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) November 2, 2020
Following this, the commander-in-chief went on to suggest that while he is not planning the action of early declaration he is planning legal action over the counting of late ballots.
“Now, I don’t know if that’s going to be changed, because we’re going to go in the night of—as soon as that election is over, we’re going in with our lawyers,” he said, addressing reporters in North Carolina.
“But we don’t want to have Pennsylvania, where you have a political governor—a very partisan guy—and we don’t want to have other states—like Nevada, where you have the head of the Democratic clubhouse as your governor. We don’t want to be in a position where he’s allowed to, every day, watch ballots come in. ‘Gee, if we could only find 10,000 more ballots.'”
Trump also criticized the Supreme Court decision on stage in Pennsylvania, telling a rally crowd “they have not treated me well.”
He has previously suggested the election “should end” on November 3 “not weeks later.”
The U.S. Supreme Court last week rejected Republican calls to overturn a Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision to allow an extension to the state’s absentee ballot deadline, which allows counting of postmarked mail-in ballots received up to three days after Election Day. The Supreme Court also let stand lower court rulings allowing an extension to the deadline in North Carolina.
Newsweek has contacted the Trump campaign for further comment.