Donald Trump’s team on Tuesday released a statement alleging “rigged voting” in California’s recall election.
Insider and Decision Desk HQ called the race for Gov. Gavin Newsom at 8:21 p.m. PT. Newsom survived the recall and beat 46 candidates, including Larry Elder, the controversial leading GOP contender.
Insider received the email from Trump’s team less than an hour after the polls closed in California.
“People don’t realize that, despite the Rigged voting in California (I call it the ‘Swarming Ballots’), I got 1.5 Million more votes in 2020 than I did in 2016,” Trump said in the statement.
There is no evidence of widespread vote-rigging in the California recall election.
Trump acknowledged that Newsom would “probably win” and zeroed in on the governor’s handling of California’s drought.
“The place is so Rigged, however, that a guy who can’t even bring water into their State, which I got federal approval to do (that is the hard part), will probably win,” Trump said.
“Billions of gallons of water coming to California from the North is being sent out to sea, rather than being spread throughout the State. This is to protect the tiny delta smelt, which is doing far worse now without the water,” Trump added.
Experts have said that much of California’s rainwater flows into the Pacific Ocean and is wasted. And the delta smelt, a small blue fish that lives only in the San Francisco Bay and the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, is in critical condition.
Trump did get federal approval to divert water to irrigate farms in 2019, but The New York Times reported at the time that this entailed lifting protections for fish like the delta smelt. And a Guardian report in 2019 suggested that Trump’s actions might have driven the fish further toward extinction.
In October 2018, Trump signed a memorandum asking federal agencies to review and rescind environmental standards slowing the water flow to Central Valley farms, which could have left the smelt without the fresh, cold water they need.
In the statement on Tuesday, Trump claimed that there were similarities between California’s recall election and the 2020 presidential election.
“Many people are already complaining that when they go to vote they are told, ‘I’m sorry, you already voted’ (Just like 2020, among many other things),” Trump said.
There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election, and judges have ruled resoundingly against the Trump camp’s lawsuits alleging voter fraud in states including Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, and Pennsylvania.
The Poynter Institute’s PolitiFact fact-checker identified two instances of California voters being mistakenly told that they had already voted in the recall election. But they were allowed to cast provisional ballots, and there is no evidence that GOP voters were targeted, PolitiFact said.
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