Trump baselessly claims Supreme Court’s ruling on Pennsylvania mail ballots will ‘induce violence’

President Trump on Monday claimed a Supreme Court ruling that allows Pennsylvania to accept mail ballots sent by Election Day and received up to three days later will “induce violence.”

The president’s tweet on the subject was his latest effort to sow doubt about ballots that are counted after Tuesday, despite states doing just that for decades.

“The Supreme Court decision on voting in Pennsylvania is a VERY dangerous one,” Trump tweeted, baselessly adding that the high court’s ruling “will allow rampant and unchecked cheating and will undermine our entire systems of laws.”

“It will also induce violence in the streets. Something must be done!” Trump tweeted.

Twitter promptly added a label to the tweet warning that its contents “might be misleading about an election or other civic process.”

The president told reporters in Wisconsin minutes later that he hoped the Supreme Court “has the wisdom to change” the decision, adding that it only needs to look to television commentators for guidance.

“I’m sure the people would say, oh, you shouldn’t speak that way about the Supreme Court. We’ve had so many bad decisions out of the Supreme Court that I’m going to speak that way,” Trump said at a subsequent rally in Kenosha.

The justices last week denied a GOP request to fast-track consideration of a Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling that upheld the state’s mail ballot due date extension. Chief Justice John Roberts joined the court’s three liberals in denying the Republican bid.

But the three most conservative justices — Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch — strongly suggested that they viewed the Pennsylvania state court as having encroached on the legislature’s constitutional authority over state elections.

The conservative trio also held open the possibility of taking up the GOP appeal after Election Day. This prompted Pennsylvania state officials to order mail ballots postmarked by Election Day but arriving after Nov. 3 to be segregated, in the event that the Supreme Court later invalidates them.  

Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who joined the bench one day before the court denied the GOP’s motion to expedite, took no part in its consideration. She and Justice Brett Kavanaugh would likely hold the decisive votes if the court were to grant the Republican appeal. 

Tens of millions of Americans have already voted in this year’s election, both by mail and in person. Mail ballots became increasingly popular due to the coronavirus pandemic, but some states, including Pennsylvania, cannot legally begin counting those votes until Election Day.

Experts have cautioned that, as a result, a final count in some states could take days.

Trump has been fixated on the Supreme Court’s decision for days and has more broadly argued that votes should not be counted beyond Nov. 3, claiming that would be akin to cheating. His rhetoric has alarmed watchdogs, lawmakers and state officials who have pointed out that final vote tallies are never official on Election Day.

“They did a very bad thing for this state. They did a very bad thing for this nation,” Trump told supporters at a rally outside Scranton, Pa., earlier Monday. “You have to have a date. You can’t extend dates. The danger that could be caused by that extension, and especially when you know what goes on in Philadelphia, and it’s been going on for years.”

Trump on Sunday indicated his team would put up a legal fight over any ballots counted beyond Election Day.

“We’re going to go in the night of — as soon as the election is over — we’re going in with our lawyers,” Trump said, mentioning the state of Pennsylvania specifically.

Trump has for weeks sown doubt about the outcome of the election. He has refused to say whether he would agree to a peaceful transition of power if he loses, he has told supporters he can lose only if the election is “rigged,” and he has repeatedly claimed mail-in voting is ripe for widespread fraud, despite such a thing being extremely rare.

Morgan Chalfant contributed to this report, which was updated at 10:45 p.m.

Tags 2020 election Amy Coney Barrett Brett Kavanaugh Clarence Thomas Donald Trump mail ballots Neil Gorsuch Pennsylvania Samuel Alito Supreme Court
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