WASHINGTON (CBS SF) — President Donald Trump on Monday singled out California Governor Gavin Newsom for criticism over plans to provide mail-in ballots in the state, claiming those votes will be “substantially fraudulent” in a general election November.
The President and the Republican Party have been highly critical of any states that have announced plans to provide registered voters with mail-in ballots out of safety concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.
Newsom announced earlier in May that he signed an executive order that would give all Californians who are registered to vote a mail-in ballots for the November election.
In a tweet posted Tuesday morning, President Trump claimed that “ballots will be forged & even illegally printed out & fraudulently signed.” He also said that ballots would be sent to millions “no matter who they are or how they got there” who would then be told how to vote by professionals.
“This will be a Rigged Election. No way!” the President concluded.
….living in the state, no matter who they are or how they got there, will get one. That will be followed up with professionals telling all of these people, many of whom have never even thought of voting before, how, and for whom, to vote. This will be a Rigged Election. No way!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 26, 2020
Gov. Newsom defended his plan to provide mail-in ballots to all registered voters during a press conference Tuesday.
“The reality is, as we come into the next flu season, potentially the next COVID-19 season, it’s around election time. And the last thing we want to do is deny you your fundamental right, your hard-fought right. We just had Memorial Day weekend, people literally living and dying to protect your freedom, freedom to vote. It’s what the foundation of a democracy is built on. Freedom and the right to vote,” Newsom said. “People literally giving their life to that cause, to defend your freedom to vote. I don’t want to deny you that right because of public health.”
The governor’s official Twitter account posted a clip of Newsom addressing the executive order on mail-in ballots,
Freedom and the right to vote are the foundations a democracy is built upon.
— Office of the Governor of California (@CAgovernor) May 26, 2020
Additionally, many Twitter users noticed a link that showed up underneath the President’s tweet with an exclamation point and the text “Get the facts about mail-in ballots” embedded in the tweet. That text linked to a secondary Twitter page that provided additional information refuting the President’s unsubstantiated claims about mail-in ballots.
Over the weekend, Republican groups sued Newsom, claiming the recent executive order is an “illegal power grab” that redesigns the election system.
The lawsuit alleges Newsom’s order is “less about protecting the health of Californians and more about protecting the electoral prospects of the Governor’s political party.”
The Republican National Party, the National Republican Congressional Committee and the California Republican Party are listed as plaintiffs in the lawsuit, which was filed Sunday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California.