It's dangerous, says Obama of Trump’s poll rigging comments

Trump had refused to commit himself to whether he would accept the results of the November 8 elections.

October 21, 2016 08:29 am | Updated November 17, 2021 06:28 am IST - Washington

US President Barack Obama speaks during a Hillary for America campaign event in Miami, Florida on Thursday.

US President Barack Obama speaks during a Hillary for America campaign event in Miami, Florida on Thursday.

US President Barack Obama has slammed Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump for refusing to commit that he would accept the results of the general election, saying allegations of voters fraud and rigging of the elections is “dangerous” and “undermines our democracy”.

“When you suggest rigging or fraud, without a shred of evidence, Trump becomes the first major party nominee in the American history to suggest that he will not concede, despite losing the vote, and then says that he will accept the results if he wins, that is not a joking matter,” Mr. Obama said on Thursday at an election rally in Florida.

“Most of the Republicans have acknowledged that there is no way to rig an election in a country this big. I don’t know if Trump has ever been to an actual polling place where you have Democrats and Republicans who are in charge of taking the votes,” he said.

Mr. Trump’s allegations, Mr. Obama said, are more than just the usual standard lie. That is dangerous because when you try to sow the seeds of doubt in people’s minds about the legitimacy of our elections, that undermines our democracy.

“Then you are doing the work of our adversaries for them,” he said.

“Because our democracy depends on people knowing that their vote matters; that those who occupy the seats of power were chosen by the people. Even when your preferred candidate loses, even when you are the one who is running and you lose, you have got to see the bigger picture and say that here in America, we believe in democracy, and we accept the will of the people,” the President said.

If there was any rigging, it would be to the disadvantage of the Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton as many of the battle ground states like Ohio, North Carolina and Nevada have Republican Governors.

Mr. Trump, he said, has nothing to offer but “anger and grievance and blame.”

“His closing argument asks: What do you have to lose? Well, I am here to tell you: Everything. You know how much progress we have made, despite the opposition, despite the forces of discrimination, despite the politics of backlash. And that progress doesn’t stop with my presidency. We are just getting started,” he said.

“So progress is on the ballot, civility is on the ballot, tolerance is on the ballot, justice is on the ballot, equality is on the ballot, our democracy is on the ballot,” Mr. Obama said.

The President said Mr. Trump didn’t come out of nowhere now. For years, Republican politicians and far-right media outlets had just been pumping out all kinds of toxic, crazy stuff. First of all, there was the whole birther thing. Then they started saying climate change is a Chinese hoax.

Mr. Obama said:

“And according to them, I am powerful enough to cause these hurricanes and I am about to steal everybody’s guns in the middle of the night and declare martial law, but somehow I still need a teleprompter to finish a sentence,” said the President.

“They have been saying crazy stuff. And there were a lot of politicians, like Marco Rubio, who know better. But they just look the other way, because they figured if we could stir folks up and think that Barack or Hillary or others are doing all these terrible things we are saying they are doing, that’s going to help us get votes. So we will just oppose anything that they are trying to do, and maybe we will end up having more power in Washington.

''And so they just stood by and said nothing even though they knew better while their base actually started believing some of this stuff.

“I say all this because Donald Trump didn’t start all this. Like he usually does, he just slapped his name on it, took credit for it, and promoted the heck out of it.”

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