Wallace: Will you urge your supporters to stay calm during this extended period, not to engage in any civil unrest? And will you pledge tonight that you will not declare victory until the election has been independently certified? President Trump, you go first.
Trump: I’m urging my supporters to go into the polls and watch very carefully. Because that’s what has to happen. I am urging them to do it. As you know, today, there was a big problem. In Philadelphia they went in to watch. They were called poll watchers — a very safe, very nice thing. They were thrown out. They weren’t allowed to watch. You know why? Because bad things happen in Philadelphia, bad things. And I — I am urging — I am urging my people. I hope it’s going to be a fair election. If it’s a fair election…
Trump: … I am 100% on board. But if I see tens of thousands of ballots being manipulated, I can’t go along with that. And I’ll tell you what. From a common-sense…
Wallace: What does that mean, you can’t go along? Does that mean you’re going to tell your people to take to the streets?
Trump: I’ll tell you what it means. It means you have a fraudulent election. You’re sending out 80 million ballots.
Asked directly whether he will tell his voters not to engage in any sort of violence or “civil unrest” while the votes are being counted on and beyond November 3, the President of the United States not only refused to do so but also reiterated his call to his supporters to go to polling places and “watch” people casting votes.
Asked whether he is “going to tell your people to take to the streets” if the election results is either not decided on November 3 or not decided in his favor, Trump responded this way: “It means you have a fraudulent election. You’re sending out 80 million ballots.”
It’s impossible to overstate how dangerous what Trump said above actually is. But before we get into the big-picture impact, let’s look at the facts (or, better put, lack thereof) in the claims Trump made.
So, Trump is wrong on the facts.
If you think saying that you will put police officers at polling places to avoid “thieving and stealing and robbing” that “they do” isn’t mean as a scare tactic to keep minority populations from voting, let me introduce you to the last 400 years of American history.
In the space of a few sentences then, Trump repeated his urgings to his supporters to show up at polling places to intimidate potential voters and actively refused to call for calm in the days after the election in the event there isn’t a declared winner.
This is the President of the United States, people. And even if he weren’t in such a powerful position, what Trump is saying would be deeply irresponsible. As it is, what he is saying is incredibly dangerous.