The Republican candidate for president—and his surrogates—spent Sunday intensifying warnings that the presidential election is “rigged.” Trump himself took to Twitter on Sunday to stoke fears about the integrity of the voting process. “The election is absolutely being rigged by the dishonest and distorted media pushing Crooked Hillary — but also at many polling places — SAD,” Trump wrote. The candidate’s unsubstantiated warnings come as his campaign is struggling to recover from the increasing number of women who claim they were sexually assaulted by Trump.
His tweets on Sunday came two days after he describedd the election as “one big fix” and “one big ugly lie,” which, as the New York Times notes, is “language never before heard in modern-day presidential races.” Experts are warning about the effect this language could have not only on voter intimdation on Election Day but also after a winner has been announced. “The problem is his supporters believe this, and if he loses the election and he’s already teed up this argument and it could have really massive, serious effects,” an election law expert tells NBC News.
Trump was hardly alone in the latest suggestions that the election would be stolen from the Republican candidate. Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani used racially charged language to say Democrats in the “inner cities” are cheating at the polls. Republicans “don’t control the inner cities the way Democrats do,” Giuliani said on CNN’s State of the Union. “Maybe if Republicans controlled the inner cities they would do as much cheating as Democrats.” CNN’s Jake Tapper pushed back on Giuliani’s claims of voter fraud but the former mayor pressed the issue. “I’m sorry, dead people generally vote for Democrats rather than Republicans,” Giuliani said. “You want me to (say) that I think the election in Philadelphia and Chicago is going to be fair? I would have to be a moron to say that.”
Giuliani’s spoke a day after Sen. Jeff Sessions from Alabama joined the chorus by claiming at a rally in New Hampshire that “they are attempting to rig this election.” When asked specifically about that statement, Newt Gingrich told ABC News that the “they” Sessions was referring is “the news media.” Still, he supported Trump’s contention that supporters should act as informal poll monitors. “You look at Philadelphia, you look at St. Louis, you look at Chicago, I mean, again I’m old enough, I remember when Richard Nixon had the election stolen in 1960 and no serious historian doubts that Illinois and Texas were stolen. So to suggest that we have—that you don’t have theft in Philadelphia is to deny reality,” Gingrich said.
Trump’s running mate, Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana, appeared to try to play down the claims that the election would be rigged at the polls, trying to suggest that Trump was just referring to media bias. “So many Americans feel like this election is being rigged by a national media that’s constantly trying to change the subject away from and practice willful ignorance” regarding the Clintons, Pence said on NBC’s Meet the Press. Still, when NBC’s Chuck Todd pressed the issue, Pence insisted that the Republican ticket “will absolutely accept the results of the election.”