As Democratic candidate Joe Biden holds a lead over the president in Georgia’s election count, Trump continued to question the legitimacy of the process on Friday, asking what happened to “missing military ballots.”
As the officials who oversee the state’s voting system stress the claim is false, with up to 8,410 military ballots issued but not yet counted, former senior advisor to President Obama, David Axelrod, noted on Twitter that the results are possibly a consequence of Trump’s own comments that reportedly criticized American casualties of war.
“Probably rethinking the whole ‘suckers’ and ‘losers’ thing right now,” Axelrod tweeted, adding in a second post: “The latest release of ballots from Allegheny County were mostly military. Joe Biden won them by something approaching four-to-one.”
A former U.S. government official, Axelrod is now director of the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics and a senior political commentator on news outlet CNN.
In September, The Atlantic reported that Trump had scrapped a visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery, France, in 2018 because he believed that it was “filled with losers.” In another conservation, the president reportedly described more than 1,800 marines who died in the 1918 battle at Belleau Wood as being “suckers” for being killed.
The Trump administration furiously denied the president had made the statements, but the story was confirmed by multiple top news organizations, including the Associated Press, The Washington Post, and The New York Times, citing senior officials.
Trump himself rejected the story in comments to reporters on September 3, in which he blamed weather conditions as the reason for the cemetery visit being cancelled. Trump claimed the helicopter could not fly in heavy rain and it had been “very, very foggy.”
“I would be willing to swear on anything that I never said that about our fallen heroes. There is nobody that respects them more. So I just think it’s a horrible, horrible thing.
We made a great evening into, frankly, a very sad evening, when I see a statement like that. No animal, nobody—what animal would say such a thing?” Trump said.
A series of firm denials were echoed up by administration officials, including former press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and social media director Dan Scavino.
At the time, Joe Biden released a statement condemning the remarks. It said: “If I have the honor of serving as the next commander in chief, I will ensure that our American heroes know that I will have their back and honor their sacrifice—always.”
As counts continue in Georgia, where Biden has 49.4 percent of the vote and Trump has 49.3 percent, a lead of 4,020, officials said there were no “missing” ballots.
Gabriel Sterling, voting implementation manager for Georgia’s secretary of state, said about 18,000 military ballots were received and counted as of Friday.
Sterling said there are 8,410 issued military and overseas ballots remaining, and they could still be counted if postmarked by Election day, CNN reported, noting that just because a military ballot was issued does not mean it was mailed back.
“That does not mean that there’s a bucket of 8,410 votes to be counted,” Sterling said in a statement on Friday, adding: “It’s going to be more than 0 and less than 8,410.”