US president-elect Joe Biden on Thursday accused US President Donald Trump of brazenly damaging democracy, as Trump’s campaign to reverse his election loss through fraud claims was dealt another blow with a recount in Georgia.
Trump was behind “incredibly damaging messages being sent to the rest of the world about how democracy functions,” Biden told reporters in his home state of Delaware.
Trump has refused to accept his loss in the US presidential election on Nov. 3, despite his opponent getting more than 6 million more votes.
Biden won the state-by-state US Electoral College votes that decide who takes the White House by 306 to 232, flipping five states that went to Trump four years ago.
That includes Georgia, where a hand recount of the state’s 5 million ballots confirmed that Biden is the first Democratic presidential candidate to win the southern state in almost three decades.
The recount showed that Biden had won by 12,284 votes, according to figures posted on Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s Web site — slightly fewer than the approximately 14,000 that he originally led by.
Trump campaign legal adviser Jenna Ellis attacked the outcome and pledged to keep fighting.
“This so-called hand recount went exactly as we expected because Georgia simply recounted all of the illegal ballots,” she said, adding that the campaign intends to “pursue all legal options.”
After initially making baseless claims of widespread fraud, Trump has appeared to shift his strategy to asking states to overrule the will of voters.
In Michigan, Trump placed a telephone call to a Republican member of a once-obscure board who said she wants to withdraw her certification of the election result in a heavily Democratic county that includes majority-Black Detroit.
“He was checking to make sure I was safe after seeing, hearing about the threats and doxxing,” Wayne County Board of Canvassers chairwoman Monica Palmer told the Detroit Free Press, referring to personal information posted about her on social media.
Trump reportedly invited Michigan Republican lawmakers to the White House, even as his campaign withdrew a federal lawsuit that asked the courts to block final certification of the state’s results.
Biden won Michigan by 155,000 votes, a margin of victory more than 10 times higher than Trump’s when he won the state in 2016.
Asked about Trump’s calls with officials there, Biden said that it was “another incident where he will go down in history as being one of the most irresponsible presidents in American history.”
“It’s hard to fathom how this man thinks,” Biden said. “I’m confident he knows he hasn’t won, is not going to be able to win, and we’re going to be sworn in January 20th.”
Earlier on Thursday, Trump had dispatched his lawyer Rudy Giuliani to give a news conference where he read affidavits claiming fraudulent voter activity in multiple states and said that the campaign would file a new lawsuit in Georgia.
In Georgia, some discrepancies were found in Republican leaning counties, said Georgia Voting Implementation Manager Gabriel Sterling, who helped monitor the audit.
“The good part was, the audit did its job. It found those tranches of votes,” he told Fox News.
The issues, which were chalked up to human error and not fraud, included memory cards that were not scanned in Douglas and Walton counties, more than 2,700 missing votes in Fayette County, and 2,600 ballots from Floyd County that were not scanned.
Raffensperger, who like Sterling is a Republican, said that prior to the results being released, there was no widespread voter fraud.
The focus on Georgia is not just because of the recount. The state’s two US Senate races are going to runoffs on Jan. 5 that is to determine control of the chamber and Biden’s ability to push through his agenda.
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