President Donald Trump told attendees at two Pennsylvania campaign rallies Saturday that vote-counting after November 3 will be “bedlam” rife with cheating. He thanked and ridiculed the Supreme Court following a decision this week to count ballots postmarked by Election Day, even if they arrive three days after Tuesday’s contest.
Trump rebuked claims he and Republicans “control the Supreme Court” after the justices upheld a September 17 ruling by Pennsylvania’s top court that allows mail-in ballots to be counted up to three days after November 3. Trump appeared to sarcastically thank the Supreme Court justices for allowing a similar exception in North Carolina. Trump told Reading, Pennsylvania, rally attendees, “If we win, if we win on Tuesday or, thank you very much Supreme Court, shortly thereafter, if we win, let me tell you,” before alleging election officials may suddenly “find” 10,000 new ballots—the same amount he won the state of Michigan by in 2016.
Trump said Pennsylvania and other states may be “waiting for weeks” for a result—a time period he claims Democrats will use to “cheat.”
“I wish the Supreme Court treated us as well, frankly. That was some decision that was made, right? Let’s not listen to the decision, most important election in the history of our country, November 3. Let’s not wait, November 3, let’s extend the date, let’s give people more time to put their ballots in,” Trump said Saturday.
“Very bad things can happen with ballots between November 3 and whatever date they gave,” the president added, saying fraud is inevitable beyond Election Night.
“Why can’t they put their ballots earlier so we can have plenty of time and so we can have a decision on November 3, the evening of November 3? And you know what’s going to happen, especially with Pennsylvania,” Trump said, noting that a pollster who accurately predicted his 2016 win quipped on TV Friday that a Trump win in Pennsylvania must overcome them “allow[ing] five points for cheating.”
“Trump’s going to win Pennsylvania but you have to allow five points for cheating, and you know when the cheating is going to take place? From the 3rd to whatever the date is that they gave. That was very disappointing and that was a very political decision I have to say, they have not treated me well,” he continued.
The president criticized the Supreme Court for handing down so “many disappointing opinions” even though he has personally appointed three of the nine justices. Justice Amy Coney Barrett was not involved in this most recent Pennsylvania decision to allow the state’s supreme court to decide how many days postmarked ballots can be counted.
Democrats have for weeks accused Trump and Senate Republicans of rushing to get another conservative justice on the court in case there are vote-counting disputes on Election Day. Trump himself helped stoke these claims, saying “scams” in Pennsylvania and other tight battleground states will almost certainly cause the election to be decided in the Supreme Court in the days or weeks after November 3.
“Oh we just found 10,000 ballots, oh we found another 10,000,” Trump said of hypothetical post-election fraud.
“I think this will end up in the Supreme Court. And I think it’s very important that we have nine justices,” Trump told Fox News last month, prior to Barrett’s confirmation by Senate Republicans. “It’s better if you go before the election, because I think this, this scam that the Democrats are pulling—it’s a scam—the scam will be before the United States Supreme Court. And I think having a 4-4 situation is not a good situation.”
Trump suggested in a quip that Democratic Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf may assist in trying to throw the election for Joe Biden Tuesday.
“Don’t cheat on the ballots, governor, don’t cheat, don’t cheat. We’re going to win, the only way we can lose this state, and the numbers are in you see what’s going on, right? Somebody is going to play games and they just got an extension. What’s the extension all about? Wouldn’t you like to hear, November 3—we win, we lose, we win, we lose— now you have more time. What’s going on?”
Despite Trump’s negativity, many legal experts say the Supreme Court decision is not a clear-cut win for Democrats, and the high court is still leaving the ultimate decision up to Pennsylvania’s highest state court to decide.
“A lot of the initial response was that this was a big win for Democrats, but it is much less clear than that,” said Kate Shaw, a Cardozo law professor and legal consultant for ABC News. “The bottom line is, this is way less decisive than it may appear.”
Newsweek reached out to the Trump campaign and Pennsylvania election board for additional remarks Saturday evening.