CLEVELAND (AP) — President Donald Trump cast doubt in advance on Tuesday’s election results, while Democratic challenger Joe Biden pushed ahead on offense on the final full day of campaigning ahead of an election conclusion that could have consequences for the U.S. for years to come.
After the president threatened legal action on Sunday to stop vote counting in some crucial states such as Pennsylvania, his campaign released a statement on Monday accusing Democrats of trying to “subvert state deadlines for receiving and counting ballots.”
Trump is assailing a decision that allows Pennsylvania’s elections officials to count mailed ballots that are received in the three days after Tuesday’s election.
Trump is falsely blaming the U.S. Supreme Court when, in fact, Pennsylvania’s top court ordered the extension until Nov. 6, even if the ballot doesn’t have a clear postmark, as long as there is not proof it was mailed after the polls closed. The U.S. Supreme Court then refused to block Pennsylvania’s decision.
Addressing a campaign rally Monday at the airport in Avoca in battleground Pennsylvania, Trump called the situation “very dangerous, and I mean dangerous, physically dangerous.”
He argued that “you can’t extend dates” and claimed — without evidence — that cheating goes on in the Democratic stronghold of Philadelphia.
Trump has said that once the polls close Tuesday, “we’re going in with our lawyers” to try to stop Pennsylvania from counting the mailed ballots received after the election.
If Pennsylvania ballot counting takes several days, as is allowed, Trump charged on Monday that “cheating can happen like you have never seen. ”
Biden dipped into Ohio, a show of confidence in a state that Trump won by 8 percentage points four years ago. He reiterated the central message of his campaign: that Trump cost lives by mismanaging America’s response to the worst pandemic in a century.
Trump was spending the final day sprinting through five rallies, from North Carolina to Wisconsin. Beyond Ohio, Biden was devoting most of his time to Pennsylvania, where a win would leave Trump with an exceedingly narrow path.
More than 93 million votes have already been cast, through early voting or mail-in ballots, which could lead to delays in tabulation. Trump has spent months claiming without evidence that the votes would be ripe for fraud while refusing to guarantee that he would honor the election result.
For Biden, who was born there and lives in neighboring Delaware, Pennsylvania has long been a focus of his campaign, a bulwark to block Trump from securing the electoral votes needed for reelection. Both Biden and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, and their spouses were crisscrossing the state Monday — hoping to deliver a knockout blow big enough to avert a legal challenge.
Trump once led comfortably in Ohio. But Biden announced Sunday during his national team’s daily call that he planned to return to the state at the urging of Sen. Sherrod Brown, who said he and other Ohio Democrats in Congress had encouraged it, suggesting a final, late visit could win.
Trump is focusing his last stops on states he won four years ago, playing defense in a campaign that has become a referendum on his handling of the pandemic. Both parties say this year’s election holds outsize importance for the nation.