President Donald Trump on Sunday denied a report that claimed he would declare an early victory on election night if he was in the lead, the Washington Examiner reported.
“No, no, that was a false report,” the president told reporters.
Declaring “premature victory”
Axios published the original report claiming sources said Trump planned to declare victory prematurely.
“President Trump has told confidants he’ll declare victory on Tuesday night if it looks like he’s ‘ahead,’ according to three sources familiar with his private comments,” Axios claimed. “That’s even if the Electoral College outcome still hinges on large numbers of uncounted votes in key states like Pennsylvania.”
The outlet continued, “For this to happen, his allies expect he would need to either win or have commanding leads in Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, Texas, Iowa, Arizona and Georgia.”
Trump called the report, “false,” a denial reiterated by Communications Director for the Trump campaign Tim Murtaugh.
“This is nothing but people trying to create doubt about a Trump victory,” Murtaugh said. “When he wins, he’s going to say so.”
A legal battle on the horizon
Although the president said he will not improperly declare an early victory, he did take issue with the fact that some states could still be counting ballots after Election Day.
“I think it’s a terrible thing when ballots can be collected after an election,” the president said, according to the Examiner. “I think it’s a terrible thing when states are allowed to tabulate ballots for a long period of time after the election is over. I think it’s terrible that we can’t know the results of an election the night of the election.”
Indeed, in 34 states mail-in ballots are not allowed to be counted until Election Day, and 17 of those states officials are not allowed to start counting ballots until after the polls have closed. Furthermore, in many crucial states the rules have been changed to allow officials to count postmarked ballots many days after the election.
Accordingly, Trump said that “as soon as the election is over, we’re going in with our lawyers.”
Trump adviser Jason Miller also suggested on Sunday that Trump’s lawyers may start a legal battle to prevent ballots from being counted after Election Day.