Vote recount demands upset Trump WASHINGTON: US President-elect Donald Trump said on Sunday that Hillary Clinton camp’s decision to back the campaign for vote-recount cannot change the election results because their candidate had already conceded defeat.
The Clinton team said on Saturday that it would participate in a recount process in Wisconsin, although it was initiated by another presidential candidate, Jill Stein of the Green Party. The campaign also decided to join any potential recounts in two other closely contested states, Pennsylvania and Michigan.
The move, announced nearly three weeks after the Nov 8 election, annoyed Trump, a Republican nominee, who criticised his rival Democrats for questioning the election results.
“Hillary Clinton conceded the election when she called me just prior to the victory speech and after the results were in. Nothing will change,” he tweeted.
In another tweet, he said: “Democrats, when they incorrectly thought they were going to win, asked that the election night tabulation be accepted. Not so anymore!”
But the president-elect appeared more upset with the Green Party for initiating the recount campaign and accused it of running a scam to solicit money from its supporters.
“The Green Party scam to fill up their coffers by asking for impossible recounts is now being joined by the badly defeated & demoralized Democrats,” he said.
The party has already collected more than $5 million for the recount while more donations are also pouring in.
The Clinton campaign, however, said that while it was supporting the call for a recount, it had little hope that this exercise could alter the results or provide new grounds for challenging Trump’s victory.
Yet, Marc Elias, the Clinton campaign’s general counsel, said they would take part in the Wisconsin recount and would also participate if Stein made good on her plans to seek recounts in Michigan and Pennsylvania. Clinton lost those three states by 10,000 to 20,000 each and the narrow margin encouraged her supporters to ask their candidate to join the Green Party in seeking a recount.
Clinton commanding lead over Trump in popular votes further encouraged the calls for recount. The latest results, announced on Saturday evening, showed that Clinton was leading Trump by a stunning 2.22 million. This would ensure that the president-elect would enter the White House with the lowest percentage of votes in modern history.
Her supporters said that Clinton’s historic lead over Trump also exposed the weakness of the electoral college system, which gives the presidency to the candidate who wins electors, even if he or she is far behind the losing candidate in popular votes.
On Friday, Wisconsin accepted Stein’s petition for a state-wide recount of votes and administrator Michael Haas of the Wisconsin Election Commission said the recount would begin late next week.
Demands for recount surfaced soon after the results were announced on the night of Nov 8 but grew louder after media reported irregularities in the vote count.
“Reported hacks into voter and party databases and individual email accounts are causing many Americans to wonder if our election results are reliable,” said Stein while explaining why she decided to call a recount. “These concerns need to be investigated before the 2016 presidential election is certified. We deserve elections we can trust,” she added.
But the Obama administration put a damper on the enthusiasm of the recount seekers, saying it did not support moves to question the voting process and the legitimacy of president-elect Donald Trump’s victory. “We stand behind our election results, which accurately reflect the will of the American people,” it said in a statement sent to The New York Times.
Meanwhile, a forthcoming book on Clinton’s defeat claimed that it was President Obama who persuaded her to concede the White House on election night.
The recount has to be completed before the Dec13 federal deadline for announcing official results. The deadline dates for seeking recounts in Michigan and Pennsylvania are next week.