By Jeff Seldin
President Donald Trump persisted Friday in claiming the U.S. presidential election was rigged despite assurances from federal and state officials, and private industry partners, that the November 3 vote was the “most secure” in the nation’s history.
Trump, who has yet to concede the election to the projected winner, former Democratic Vice President Joe Biden, has repeatedly taken to Twitter to assert, without evidence, that fraud and other irregularities deprived him of millions of votes.
On Friday, Trump renewed his push to delegitimize the election results, accusing rival Democrats of both hypocrisy and, seemingly, of finding ways to bypass security measures his administration had put in place.
“For years the Dems have been preaching how unsafe and rigged our elections have been. Now they are saying what a wonderful job the Trump Administration did in making 2020 the most secure election ever,” the president tweeted.
“Actually this is true, except for what the Democrats did,” he added. “Rigged Election!”
Trump’s tweet, which Twitter labeled as “disputed,” came after a coalition of federal and state officials, including his administration’s own Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), issued a staunch defense of their efforts. They were joined in the statement by voting equipment manufacturers, voting software companies and civic groups.
“The November 3rd election was the most secure in American history,” said the statement from the Election Infrastructure Government Coordinating Council (GCC) Executive Committee and the Election Infrastructure Sector Coordinating Council.
“While we know there are many unfounded claims and opportunities for misinformation about the process of our elections, we can assure you we have the utmost confidence in the security and integrity of our elections, and you should, too,” they said. “There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes or was in any way compromised.”
The president and election officials have been engaged in a battle for public perception since the polls closed and deadlines for mail ballots passed last week.
Trump’s campaign team has filed multiple lawsuits across the country, alleging improper balloting procedures and voter fraud. Even as many of the suits have been thrown out for lack of evidence, the president’s supporters have continued to make allegations on social media and in interviews with the news media.
State election officials, in the meantime, have pushed back, using news releases and social media accounts to shoot down rumors and disinformation.
CISA, which spearheaded election security efforts, has waged a counter-disinformation campaign of its own, using social media to steer Americans to its Rumor Control website, where it has sought to debunk rumors, like those alleging that a bad actor could alter ballots or vote tallies without being detected or that dead people were able to cast votes.
Those efforts appear to have sparked the president’s ire.
The Reuters news agency on Thursday, citing three sources familiar with the matter, reported that CISA Director Christopher Krebs had told associates that he expected the White House to fire him, in part for refusing to remove or change information on the Rumor Control website.
Neither CISA nor the White House responded to VOA requests for comment. But word that Krebs could be on the way out sparked an outcry from state election officials, lawmakers and former officials.
“Director Krebs and the many other CISA staffers we interact with have been invaluable partners in further securing election infrastructure and sharing vital information,” said Maria Benson, speaking for the National Association of Secretaries of State, in an email to VOA.
Democrat Mark Warner, the vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, was even more direct.
“Chris Krebs has done a great job protecting our elections. He is one of the few people in this administration respected by everyone on both sides of the aisle,” Warner posted on Twitter. “There is no possible justification to remove him from office. None.”
Krebs himself has been active on social media, pushing back against what CISA has labeled disinformation, urging Americans, “Don’t fall for it.”