US President Donald Trump has denied that he is planning to prematurely declare victory after the presidential polls are over on Tuesday and hinted that he is gearing up for a legal battle against a vote count that stretched past Election Day.
“No, no that was a false report,” Trump told reporters on Sunday at the Charlotte airport in North Carolina amidst a news report that he is planning to prematurely declare victory on the election night.
Americans have rushed to vote early, already casting nearly 92 million mail-in ballots that could take days or weeks to be counted in some states – meaning a winner might not be declared in the hours after polls close on Tuesday.
Trump indicated that his team was gearing up for a legal battle.
Trump lamented Supreme Court’s rulings that allowed for Pennsylvania and North Carolina to count absentee ballots that are postmarked before Election Day but arrive shortly after Tuesday.
“I think it is a terrible thing when ballots can be collected after an election. I think it is a terrible thing when people or states are allowed to tabulate ballots for a long period of time after the election is over because it can only lead to one thing,” Trump said.
“We are going in the night of — as soon as the election is over — we are going in with our lawyers,” he said as he criticised the decision taken by the Supreme Court to allow ballots to be received after Election Day in several battleground states.
“I think there is a great danger to it and I think a lot of fraud and misuse can take place,” the president said.
“I think it is a very dangerous, terrible thing. And I think it is terrible when we cannot know the results of an election the night of the election in a modern-day age of computers. I think it is a terrible thing,” he added.
Critical of the Supreme Court decision, Trump said: “I think it is a very dangerous decision because you are going to have one or two or three states, depending on how it ends up, where they are tabulating ballots, and the rest of the world is waiting to find out. And I think there is a great danger to it, and I think a lot of fraud and misuse could take place.”
Trump has repeatedly claimed widespread fraud connected to mail-in voting.
Trump said if people wanted to get their ballots in, they should have gotten their ballots in long before.
“They do not have to put their ballots on the same day, they could have put their ballots in a month ago. And we think it is a ridiculous decision,” he said.
The president said he is doing well in the election.
“We have great crowds. The first two were extremely cold. But they are great people, so that warmed it up,” he said.
“We are doing tremendous numbers. Florida is doing very well. Ohio, as you heard, is doing phenomenally well. I think we are ahead in Ohio from four years ago, and we won by eight. If you look at North Carolina, we are doing great. I think we are doing well all over,” he asserted.
Polls show Democratic nominee Joe Biden with a large lead among early voters in key states, while Trump maintains a significant advantage among those who have yet to vote.
The candidates spent Sunday making their final pitches to voters ahead of Tuesday’s election. Trump made stops in Michigan, Iowa, North Carolina, Georgia and Florida. Biden, meanwhile, held multiple events in Philadelphia as he seeks to win Pennsylvania.