Senate

Dem senator to Trump: ‘You have no mandate’

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) blasted Donald Trump on Thursday, saying the president-elect doesn’t have a mandate for his “politics of hate and division.” 
 
“I think most people conclude that the fact that he lost the popular vote is so disturbing to the president-elect because he wants to claim a mandate, but he cannot claim a mandate because a majority of Americans voted against him,” Merkley said. 
 
He added that Trump’s claim that he could have won the popular vote if illegal voters were excluded is a “straight falsehood” and more Americans would have voted against the real estate mogul if it weren’t for voter suppression. 
 
“No fiction you can stir up in the middle of the night can change the fundamental fact that you have no mandate here in America for these politics of hate and division,” Merkley said.
 
Trump, during his victory speech, pledged to try to unite Americans after a divisive election. Democrats, however, have panned many of his nominees and appointments, arguing they reflect larger concerns they have about Trump’s policies.
 
Merkley, the only senator to back Sen. Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign, floated that misleading voters about how to vote should be a crime that includes a penalty of jail time. 
 
“We have seen a systemic Republican strategy to tear down the power to vote in our nation. And this must end,” he said, adding that his GOP colleagues should “quit denying, quit deluding, and quit defiling.” 
 
Merkley tore into Trump twice from the Senate floor on Thursday. In a separate, larger speech about President Obama’s overtime rule, he questioned why Trump hadn’t spoken out in favor of the rule. 
 
“Where is he today on the day 4 million Americans are getting scrooged? Where is Donald Trump today?” Merkley said, while speaking next to a poster of the cartoon of Ebenezer Scrooge. “How about a tweet in the middle of the night saying ‘I get it’?”
 
Trump tweeted over the weekend that there was “serious voter fraud” in New Hampshire, Virginia and California. 
Republicans have largely sidestepped Trump’s claims. 
 
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Trump’s attempt to re-litigate the vote totals was “irrelevant” because the election is over. 
 
“It’s an interesting discussion but it strikes me as totally irrelevant. It’s time to move on,” he told reporters. 
 
Trump supporters, during a CNN segment, pointed to stories circulated on Facebook to explain why think think there was voter fraud despite a lack of evidence. 
Tags Bernie Sanders Donald Trump Jeff Merkley Mitch McConnell
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