A GOP supporter of Donald Trump said “there’s never any evidence of voter fraud,” but there can be “mechanical malfunctions” on Election Day.
“I’m not going to naive enough to tell you that it never occurs. But it doesn’t occur on a scale vast enough to change the outcome of a presidential election,” Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) told CNN.
Cole, a House deputy majority whip and former chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, said if Trump “wants to make the point that the media’s uneven in scrutiny and unfair, I do agree with that.”
“If he wants to make the point that a lot of the elites in the country have mobilized against him to an unprecedented degree, I agree with that as well,” he added.
“If you’re talking about the actual election process, I don’t agree. Frankly, I’ve been involved in elections my whole life. I was involved in the 2000 presidential elections as chief of staff of the Republican National Committee in probably the most disputed outcome in the long time.”
Trump has repeatedly told rallies that the election will be rigged, followed by tweeting on Monday: “Of course there is large scale voter fraud happening on and before election day. Why do Republican leaders deny what is going on? So naive!”
At a campaign event in Grand Junction, Colo., on Tuesday, Trump said “the system is also rigged by the donors.”
Cole said the system “broadly renders the opinion of the American people.”
“It’s done so consistently for literally hundreds of years,” he added. “I think it will do it again in three weeks.”
Cole said he’s “worried any time somebody delegitimizes the election process” and stressed that “at the end of the day, the people at the precincts are usually volunteers. They are your friends and neighbors. I don’t know a single secretary of state in the United States, Republican or Democrat, that does not do everything possible to make sure the election is open, fair and transparent.”
“And again, I say it as a guy that used to be secretary of state. I know these folks. The last people in the world that want to see anything go wrong with the election is a secretary of state or the respective state or the chief election official in these states,” he said.
Trump surrogate former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani said on CNN Sunday that when Trump “talks about a rigged election, he’s not talking about the fact that it’s going to be rigged at the polls.”
“What he’s talking about is that 80 percent to 85 percent of the media is against him, that when you look at The New York Times, when you pick it up every morning, on the top of the paper, there are three stories that are anti-Trump, some of them totally baseless, some of some silly,” Giuliani said. “…He points right at you, at the press. He makes it clear who he thinks is rigging the election.”
Host Jake Tapper asked why, if that was what he meant, he was calling for supporters to act as poll monitors.
“There are a few places, and not many in the swing states, there are a few places where they have been notorious for stealing votes, Pennsylvania, Chicago. There have been places where a lot of cheating has gone on over the years,” Giuliani replied.
“Look, if she wins Illinois by 8 percent or he wins Illinois by 8 percent, then that cheating is going to make any difference,” he added. “If he wins Pennsylvania by 5, or she wins by 5, it will make no difference. If it’s a one- or two-point race, it could make a difference in a few places. Not going to make a difference in Indiana. Not going to make a difference in North Carolina. Not going to make a difference in some — a lot of other places, where they don’t have this traditional cheating.”
Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who is not a Trump supporter, told CBS This Morning that “to say that elections are rigged and all these votes are stolen, that’s like saying we never landed on the moon, frankly.”
“That’s how silly it is. No, I don’t think that’s good for our country, for our democracy. And I don’t believe that we have any massive fraud. We don’t have that. That’s just a silly argument,” Kasich continued. “The problem is it does create doubt in people’s minds. And I worry about 25 percent of Americans who may say when the election is over, it was stolen. That’s a big fat joke.”