President Donald Trump railed against mail-in voting and unsubstantiated claims that ballots have been found in wastepaper baskets, even as former Vice President Joe Biden urged Americans to exercise their right to vote by any means necessary.
“There is fraud; they found them in creeks, they found them with the name Trump in a wastepaper basket,” the president said during Tuesday night’s debate. “This will be a fraud like you have never seen.”
Trump called into question the legitimacy of the election results minutes after Biden cited the president’s own Homeland Security department and FBI director saying there is “no evidence” that mail-in ballots contribute to voter fraud. Biden also noted that Trump himself votes by mail: “He sits behind the Resolute Desk and sends his ballot to Florida.”
Biden appealed to the public to “show up and vote” any way they could.
Trump also floated claims that mail carriers are selling ballots and discarding them.
“They’re being sold and dumped in rivers,” he said. “This is a horrible thing for the country.” Biden said there’s no evidence of that.
“This is not going to end well,” Trump said.
The president refused to commit to urging his supporters to stay calm and not engage in civil unrest if the election results are drawn out, instead doubling down on his warnings of mass voter fraud.
“I am urging my supporters to go into the polls and watch very carefully,” he said. “If I see tens of thousands of ballots being manipulated, I cannot go along with that.”
Biden said he would urge his own supporters to remain calm until the vote is counted and pledged not to declare victory until the election is independently certified.
“Once the winner is declared after all the ballots are counted, that will be the end of it. And if it’s me, and if it’s not me, I will support the outcome,” Biden said. “I will be a president not just for the Democrats, I will be a president for Democrats and Republicans.”
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