Hillary joins recount effort as Trump calls it a 'scam' - and Obama agrees
US President-elect Donald Trump last night condemned a growing push to force recounts in three states pivotal to his election victory, confronting the Green Party-backed effort for the first time even as he worked to address key Cabinet vacancies.
The New York billionaire, who charged the election was "rigged" on a daily basis before his victory, called the developing recount effort "a scam" in a statement released by his transition team.
Trump had been ignoring Green Party nominee Jill Stein's fight to revisit vote totals in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. Wisconsin officials announced late on Friday night that they were moving forward with the first presidential recount in state history.
"The people have spoken and the election is over," Trump declared Saturday. He added, "We must accept this result and then look to the future."
Trump had paid little if any attention to Stein's recount push, but Democratic rival Hillary Clinton forced his hand on Saturday by formally joining the effort. Jill Stein, who drew 1pc of the vote nationally, has already raised over €5m to fund the recounts.
"Because we had not uncovered any actionable evidence of hacking or outside attempts to alter the voting technology, we had not planned to exercise this option ourselves," Clinton campaign attorney Marc Elias wrote Saturday in his blog post. "But now that a recount has been initiated in Wisconsin, we intend to participate in order to ensure that the process proceeds in a manner that is fair to all sides."
Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, now a senior adviser to the US president-elect, also issued a statement yesterday
"What a pack of sore losers," Conway said. "After asking Mr Trump and his team a million times on the trail if he will accept the election results, it turns out Team Hillary and their new BFF Jill Stein can't accept reality."
The Obama administration, while not wanting to be drawn into any new controversy in the final weeks of Barack Obama's presidency, seemed to come down on the side of Donald Trump.
A statement from the White House said: "The Kremlin probably expected that publicity surrounding the disclosures that followed the Russian government-directed compromises of emails from US persons and institutions, including from US political organisations, would raise questions about the integrity of the election process that could have undermined the legitimacy of the president-elect.
"Nevertheless, we stand behind our election results, which accurately reflect the will of the American people," the statement concluded.
Speculation that electronic voting machines could be hacked has largely been debunked - primarily because the machines are not connected to the internet.