Wednesday 22 November 2017

Trump blames 'fraud' for loss of popular vote

Donald Trump at the White House reception for congress leaders (AP/Susan Walsh)
Donald Trump at the White House reception for congress leaders (AP/Susan Walsh)

Ken Thomas and Erica Werner

Donald Trump has told congressional leaders that he would have won the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election if 3-5 million immigrants living in America illegally had not voted.

President Trump made the debunked claim, without offering any evidence, at a private White House meeting with Democratic and Republican leaders, according to a Democratic aide familiar with the exchange.

Republican-dominated House of Representatives majority leader Kevin McCarthy alluded to it, telling reporters that Mr Trump and the politicians talked about "the different Electoral College, popular vote".

Asked if anything surprised her about the meeting, the chamber's Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said: "I won't even go into that."

There has been no evidence of widespread tampering or hacking that would change the results of the presidential contest.

Mr Trump won the Electoral College by a comfortable margin, but Democratic rival Hillary Clinton won the popular ballot by nearly 2.9 votes.

Throughout the campaign, Mr Trump pushed false claims about the propensity of voter fraud, telling his supporters the election had been "rigged" against him.

He has made the unverified claims before, tweeting in late November that he would have won the popular vote "if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally".

He also alleged at the time that there had been "serious voter fraud" in California, New Hampshire and Virginia and complained that the media was not covering it.

Meanwhile, Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto said his government was prepared to negotiate with Mr Trump if his country's national sovereignty was respected.

Mr Pena Nieto gave a speech detailing what Mexico's baseline negotiating points would be, including economic integration, respect for the rights of migrants and the money they send home.

Those remittances amount to about 25 billion dollars (£20bn) a year and have become a major source of foreign revenue for the country.

Mr Trump had originally suggested that the US might retain some of that money to help pay for a wall between the countries, a project he says Mexico will pay for.

Mr Pena Nieto sought to chart a middle course, saying: "Neither confrontation nor submission. Dialogue is the solution."

He said that over the weekend he has talked to Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau about the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) ahead of a planned January 31 meeting with Mr Trump.

Mr Trump has pledged to renegotiate the three-nation trade agreement and slap tariffs on imports.

Mr Pena Nieto's office said that during Sunday's conversation, Mr Trudeau and the Mexican president "spoke about the importance of the United States for both countries, and agreed to join forces to continue promoting the economic integration of North America".

Mr Trump announced Monday that he had set up meetings with Mr Trudeau and Mr Pena Nieto, saying: "We're going to start some negotiations having to do with Nafta."

Mexico's manufacturing sector has benefited from Nafta, but Mr Trump claims it has displaced US jobs.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Mr Trump "has already spoken to both the president of Mexico and the prime minister of Canada about his desire to renegotiate, and as he meets with both of these individuals over the next 30 days or so, that is going to be a topic".

"If they come in and express their willingness to do that, you could negotiate it in the current parameters and update it through the existing structure," he said.

"If they don't, and decide to pull out, we will have to go back to the drawing table in the future."

Press Association

Promoted Links

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editors Choice

Also in World News