President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he would only declare victory in his reelection bid “if there’s victory,” following months of concerns and a recent report that he plans to declare himself the winner on election night even if it only looks like he’s ahead.
“I think we’ll have victory,” he said in an interview with “Fox and Friends,” when asked when he would declare it. “Only when there’s victory. There’s no reason to play games.”
Trump won 306 electoral votes in his run against Hillary Clinton in 2016, which was 36 more than the 270 needed to win. He said Tuesday that he expects to easily top that in this election, though a victor may not be immediately known as several states allow mail-in ballots to be counted days after the election, so long as they are postmarked by Nov. 3.
In the months leading up to Tuesday’s election, Trump has attempted to try to prevent some mail-in ballots from being counted and has also ignited concerns about whether he would concede defeat if he loses.
Trump told confidants that he would declare victory even if it only looks like he’s “ahead,” Axios reported on Sunday, citing three sources.
In July, he also said, “I have to see” when asked whether he would accept the results of the general election. When asked in September if he would “commit to a peaceful transferal of power” if he loses, Trump again said: “Well, we’re gonna have to see what happens.”
Trump in August said that if he loses it would be because the election was rigged and stolen from him. He has specifically targeted mail-in ballots as a method of cheating, despite there being no evidence of widespread voter fraud.
A senior adviser to his campaign, Jason Miller, also said on Sunday that he believes Democrats will try to “steal” the election from Trump after Tuesday.
“We believe that we will be over 290 electoral votes on election night. So no matter what they try to do, what kind of high jinks or lawsuits or whatever kind of nonsense they try to pull off, we’re still going to have enough electoral votes to get President Trump reelected,” Miller said.
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