Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel did not present concrete examples of alleged voter fraud in her home state of Michigan and elsewhere when pressed by Fox News anchors on Friday, instead urging Americans to “give us time” to produce evidence of irregularities.
Asked about President Donald Trump’s remaining path to victory with Democratic nominee Joe Biden now leading Trump in three key uncalled swing states — any of which could put him over the 270 electoral vote threshold for election — McDaniel urged patience.
“We have seen a lot of irregularities, Bret,” she told anchor Bret Baier, claiming that in Michigan, where the Trump campaign is pushing for a recount, “we’ve been pursuing reports coming in on our hotline, people who were disenfranchised from observing the vote count and some more serious allegations that we’re seeing.”
Pressed for more specifics, McDaniel said she would be holding a news conference later in the day.
“It is serious. I want to let it play out and allow the lawyers to look at this,” she insisted. “It is not something that’s little.”
McDaniel’s vague claims of voter fraud come as the president looks to be on the verge of defeat, with Biden’s edge in a number of pivotal states growing as election officials continue to tally absentee and mail-in ballots cast in droves this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump, who has sought for months to discredit the practice as ripe for fraud, has lobbed a number of legal challenges in states that have yet to be called but has seen little success in court. He has also falsely declared victory, and baselessly accused Democrats of attempting to “steal” the election from him.
In her news conference on Friday, the RNC chair again did not present any specific accusation of fraud but pointed to a software issue in one county that erroneously gave thousands more votes to Democrats but was corrected.
McDaniel said the party had discovered the same software was being used in dozens of other counties across the state, but did not provide any evidence such an issue had cropped up elsewhere. She referenced a glitch in a separate county that wrongly decided a local race but was also corrected, but likewise did not allege any specific instances of fraud in the county, which Biden carried by 14 points.
She repeatedly accused the leaders of Democratic-run counties of booting Republican observers from watching votes be counted, referencing chaos at a Detroit convention center being used to tally votes, and called the Democratic secretary of state “dishonest” for contending an equal number of Democratic and Republican poll watchers had been asked to leave due to a lack of space.
And she accused a Detroit election worker telling colleagues to change the date on mail-in ballots, allegations that were refuted in court this week.
On Fox News, she described “hundreds of witnesses who talk about being disenfranchised and being removed from counting centers as election workers cheered as they were removed,” saying the party had been filing lawsuits and alleging that such moves were “systematic.”
“The fact that we were there has allowed us to show what happens when person after person in Detroit was removed. If you left to go to the bathroom you weren’t allowed back in. I’m not hearing this from reports or hearsay or the internet,” she argued. “I know these people.”
But the Fox anchors pushed back, with Baier noting that “transparency and watching the ballots is different than finding fraud that changes the direction, that narrows the gap,” which sits at around 146,000 votes right now in Michigan.
Baier asked McDaniel whether the claims she planned to present would overturn a margin of that size.
“I’m saying be patient and allow us to pursue these irregularities and some of these allegations that are very serious — very serious,” she responded. “And so allow that to happen, let the process take place. It’s funny we want to rush to judgment, we want to get this election over with. But If there is election fraud — which everyone accuses or says there wasn’t, or if there were irregularities we need to pursue them.”
“We agree with you and we want to look into everything as well. But we just haven’t seen it. It hasn’t been presented,” Baier pointed out. “There’s all kinds of stuff flying on the internet, but when we look into it, it doesn’t pan out.”
He noted that in 2016, when Trump pulled off an upset victory in Michigan by a narrow margin, the campaign had no complaints about the vote-counting process, and that a recount then didn’t switch enough votes to change the outcome of the race.
McDaniel again pleaded for patience, and urged the media to investigate the kinds of irregularities she was vaguely referencing.
“Don’t rush people to say, well, just accept it because it doesn’t happen. If these irregularities are there, they need to be investigated,” she added.
Baier continued to push back on McDaniel’s claims, asking whether the country was “going to see” specific allegations of fraud.
“You know Bret, we’re working on that. And that’s why I’m saying, give us time,” she said. She claimed Democrats had not come to Republicans’ aid to advocate for more transparency in the counting process.
“I was looking at the index of the statements today and there are hundreds of them,” she continued. “There are situations where military ballots were not being transposed correctly or they weren’t able to observe it or where they had ballots that they said were invalidated that were put back into the pile of being valid. These are the types of statements we’re getting. We will be going legally with these and making sure they turn into affidavits and that is a bit of a process. So when you have this many complaints, it is not something to be overlooked and ignored.”