On Wednesday, writing for The Washington Post, Philip Bump broke down the significance of President Donald Trump's ongoing refusal to commit to accepting the election results — a refusal that Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany echoed to reporters earlier in the day.
His attempts to attack the political process goes back to 2016, wrote Bump: "He’s repeatedly made the nonsensical claim that his huge loss in California was a function of fraud, meaning that millions of votes would somehow have been illegally cast without detection. He’s also repeatedly claimed that the results in New Hampshire were tainted by fraud, a claim unsupported by any evidence and which has repeatedly been rejected by officials in the state and by outside analysis of the vote."
"Why make those claims? Because Trump is embarrassed that he lost the popular vote, obviously," wrote Bump. "He presents himself as a winner, so he rationalizes his loss. That it doesn’t make sense is beside the point."
The new claims from Trump that he may not accept the result in November goes hand in hand with his ongoing lies about the security of mail-in ballots — even as he tries to get his own supporters to use them.
"It's important to highlight that McEnany, ostensibly the institutional voice of the presidency, is leaving open the door to Trump rejecting the results of the election. And in doing so, she points to literally no other cause than this speculative claim about the existence of rampant voter fraud," wrote Bump. "The analogy I like to use is car theft. Trump is pointing to a few stolen cars and alleging that there is necessarily a national ring of car thieves which is stealing hundreds of thousands of vehicles and putting the entire idea of private car ownership at risk."
"It’s quite possible that Trump is hinting at rejecting the results of the election because of 'fraud' for the same reason he’s talked about fraud over the past four years: He’d like to convince the world that he only lost because of cheating," wrote Bump. "But by now it’s hard to extricate those claims from the president’s broader pattern of undermining the legitimacy and honesty of the November contest to his benefit."
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