President Barack Obama scoffed Thursday at Republican Donald Trump’s warnings earlier this week that the presidential election in November may be “rigged.”
“Of course the elections will not be rigged. What does that mean?” Obama said during a press conference at the Pentagon. “The federal government doesn’t run the election process, it is states, and cities, and communities all across the country. They are the ones who set up the voting systems and voting booths.”
More than once, Trump has expressed concerns about the sanctity of the election process. However, there’s been virtually no evidence of large-scale voter fraud in the United States in recent elections.
Trump’s comments followed court cases in Texas and North Carolina that invalidated parts or all of state voter ID laws that had been passed by Republican legislatures. Critics of the laws _ and federal courts _ said they discriminated against minorities and the poor.
Of course the elections will not be rigged. What does that mean?
President Barack Obama
“I’m telling you, November 8th, we’d better be careful because that election is going to be rigged,” Trump said Monday on Fox News. “And I hope the Republicans are watching closely or it’s going to be taken away from us.”
Obama, who denounced Trump in his speech at the Democratic National Convention and has since encouraged Republican leaders to withdraw their support from the business mogul, said such concerns were unfounded, calling the theory “ridiculous.”
“And if Mr. Trump is suggesting that there is a conspiracy theory that is being propagated across the country, including in places like Texas, where typically it’s not Democrats who are in charge of voting booths, that’s ridiculous,” he said. “That doesn’t make any sense. And I don’t think anybody would take that seriously.”
Obama then compared Trump to an athlete who complained about being cheated before losing the game.
“I never heard of somebody complaining about being cheated before the game was over, or before the score was even tallied,” he said, adding, “So my suggestion would be, you know, go out there and try to win this election. If Mr. Trump is up 10 or 15 points on Election Day and ends up losing, you know, maybe he can raise some questions.”
My suggestion would be, you know, go out there and try to win this election.
President Barack Obama, responding to Donald Trump’s concerns about a ‘rigged’ election
The press conference followed a closed National Security Council meeting, led by Obama, about the best strategies to counter the Islamic State.
Concerns about these types of classified meetings, which presidential candidates have access to once solidified as their party’s nominee, have accelerated during this election season with concerns from both sides of the aisle. But, it is the law and the tradition for a candidate to receive this information, Obama said, which helps the ultimate winner better prepare for the position.
“What I will say is that they have been told these are classified briefings and if they want to be president, they’ve got to start acting like presidents,” Obama said. “And that means being able to, you know, receive these briefings and not spread them around.”
In July, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said Democrat Hillary Clinton should be barred from classified information while on the campaign trail after FBI director James Comey cleared her on charges related to her use of private email servers while acting as secretary of state, going on to call her decision “extremely careless.”
“A discussion or a call for administrative action I think is the least we can do given how she was recklessly handling classified material,” Ryan said.