The White House is denying that President Donald Trump’s comments urging voters in North Carolina to vote by mail and then try to vote again in person to test the mail-in ballot system in the Nov. 3 election are aimed at undercutting the presidential election.
Watch the briefing in the video player above.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany insisted the president has fought hard for an election system that is fair and free from fraud and abuse.
“The president does not condone unlawful voting,” McEnany said to reporters during a White House briefing. “The president’s been very clear about this.”
Trump was asked by a television reporter during his trip Wednesday to Wilmington, North Carolina, if he had confidence in the vote-by-mail system.
“They will vote and then they are going to have to check their vote by going to the poll and voting that way because if it tabulates then they won’t be able to do that,” Trump told WECT. “So, let them send it in and let them go vote.
North Carolina’s attorney general, Democrat Josh Stein, said it is outrageous for the president to suggest that people “break the law in order to help him sow chaos in our election.”
It’s a felony under North Carolina state law to vote twice. Once someone has cast an absentee ballot, that person may not change or cancel it, or decide to vote in person on Election Day, according to the state election board’s website..
The five states that relied on mail-in ballots even before the coronavirus pandemic – Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington and Utah – have said they have necessary safeguards in place to ensure against fraud and to prevent hostile foreign intruders from trying to influence the vote. More states intend to rely more heavily on mail-in voting this fall because of the pandemic.
McEnany also defended a memo approved by Trump on Wednesday, that said the White House said is intended to begin restricting federal funding from going to certain Democratic-led cities that the administration determines to be “anarchist jurisdictions.”
Citing increasing crime rates, McEnany said Democratic leadership in cities like New York, Washington, Portland and Seattle suffered from “a dereliction of duty.”
“If the states will not act in their police power and secure their streets, this president will use every lawful mechanism available to him to try to supplement their failures,” she said.