Trump claims without evidence he sent federal agents to keep DeSantis election from being ‘stolen’ in 2018

Former President Trump claimed without evidence on Thursday that he sent federal agents to Florida in 2018 to keep the state’s gubernatorial election from being “stolen” from Gov. Ron DeSantis (R). 

Trump said in a Truth Social post that he helped save DeSantis’s campaign and sent the FBI and U.S. attorneys to the state to stop voter fraud. 

He claimed votes were “being stolen” by a “corrupt” election process in Broward County, which is located in the Miami area, and DeSantis’s lead over his Democratic opponent, Andrew Gillum, was dropping by 10,000 votes per day. 

Trump said he and Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) sent the FBI and U.S. attorneys and the “ballot theft” ended immediately, stopping the election from being “stolen.” 

Scott, who was running for Senate for the first time in 2018, alleged a couple days after the election that slow counting in Broward County, a strongly Democratic area, was allowing for illegal votes to be inserted in the count, but shared no evidence of this claim. 

In the 2018 election in Florida, DeSantis won the gubernatorial election by about 30,000 votes while Scott won his Senate seat by about 10,000. 

DeSantis was projected to win his race on election night, before Scott made his allegations of voter fraud. 

Additional vote counting in the days following the election did shrink DeSantis’s margin over his Democratic opponent, but not by enough to possibly change the outcome, The Washington Post reported

Poll workers continued to count ballots until Scott was eventually declared the winner of the race. 

Tom Winter, an NBC News correspondent for investigations, reported that the outlet has found no evidence that Trump sent the FBI or U.S. attorneys to Florida to stop the vote count, and the Justice Department (DOJ) spokesperson at the time said it “never happened.” 

Democrats slammed Trump’s claims and cast doubt on their truthfulness but said the DOJ may need to step in. 

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) tweeted that Trump “makes stuff up all the time,” but if his claims are true, the DOJ should investigate if he used federal agents to interfere with an election. 

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) tagged the DOJ’s Criminal Division in a tweet with a screenshot of Trump’s Truth Social post, saying “Please add this to his tab.” 

Trump has increasingly criticized DeSantis as the Florida governor is rumored to be considering a 2024 run for the GOP nomination for president. The former president is expected to announce his run next week. 

DeSantis’s prospects appeared to potentially rise earlier this week after he won an overwhelming victory for reelection as governor while several key Trump-backed candidates lost their races.

Tags 2018 midterm elections Andrew Gillum Department of Justice Donald Trump election security Federal Bureau of Investigation Florida Florida governor election Rick Scott Rick Scott Ron DeSantis Ron DeSantis Ted Lieu Truth Social Voter fraud

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