Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, on Wednesday seemed to walk back the Republican presidential nominee’s unfounded claim that there will be widespread voter fraud on Election Day.
Conway told MSNBC that she doesn’t see evidence that states are rigging the election against Trump, though she asserted that there is a “larger conspiracy, larger collusion” between “some specific members of the media and the Clinton campaign.”
“Absent overwhelming evidence that there is, it would not be for me to say that there is,” Conway said of voter fraud.
She added: “Donald Trump is reading reports about rigged systems – voter irregularities.”
But when pressed about specific instances of voter fraud, Conway appeared to suggest that the “rigged” system was not meant to be taken literally, and was simply a rhetorical catch-all for what the campaign views as injustices in the American political system.
“I think everyone is missing his larger point,” Conway said.
“It is a rigged, corrupt system, whether you believe it’s rigged and corrupt at the polls or whether you believe it’s rigged and corrupt in that we have a $19 trillion debt and people who are there for years and years, if not decades,” she added.
Over the past week, Trump and many of his top campaign surrogates have increasingly made the unfounded case that there is a widespread conspiracy to “rig” the election against Trump.
“Of course there is large scale voter fraud happening on and before election day,” Trump tweeted Monday morning. “Why do Republican leaders deny what is going on? So naive!”
A number of prominent Republicans in charge of overseeing the election at the state level have criticized Trump’s inflammatory claim.
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, a Republican supporting Trump, said on CNN on Monday that the US election system is “one of the bedrocks of American democracy” and added that “we should not question it or the legitimacy of it.”
“It works very well in places like Ohio,” he said. “We make it easy to vote and hard to cheat. We have a bipartisan system of elections. Frankly, it’s the only place you can find Republicans and Democrats working cooperatively together. They work that way in our election system to make sure the integrity of our election system is upheld and that people feel good about the process of voting.”