Ohio’s Republican Secretary of State, Jon Husted, told CNN Monday morning that he can “reassure Donald Trump” the elections “are not going to be rigged” in his state.
“I’ll make sure of that,” said Husted, the top election official in the key battleground state.
Trump has recently started insisting that the November election will be “rigged” against him. The Republican presidential nominee made an identical claim in early August after his poll numbers went into a similar tailspin.
“The election is absolutely being rigged by the dishonest and distorted media pushing Crooked Hillary – but also at many polling places – SAD,” he tweeted Sunday.
Trump followed up on Monday by questioning why Republicans “deny” that voter fraud is “happening.”
“Of course there is large scale voter fraud happening on and before election day,” he posted on Twitter. “Why do Republican leaders deny what is going on? So naive!”
But Husted called the US election system “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, which is a crucial state for Trump to pull off a November victory. “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.”
He called Trump’s rigged election rhetoric “irresponsible” and called on the Manhattan billionaire to “focus on issues that matter to people.”
“Give them some hope,” he said. “Don’t create hopelessness in our country. Don’t make people feel despair, make them feel uplifted and hopeful that there is a better day ahead for all of us. I think that is what we want from all of our candidates.”
A number of other Republicans have publicly rebuked Trump’s assertion that the election will be rigged.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, through his spokesperson, said he is “fully confident” the election will be carried out “with integrity.”
Trump has repeatedly chastised Ryan in recent days.
But his own running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, seemed to side closer with Ryan than Trump when asked about the recent claims on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, saying that the Trump campaign will “absolutely accept the result of the election” and that they will “accept the will of the American people.”
Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, a frequent Trump critic, also took to Twitter on Sunday to express his views on Trump’s claims.
“States, backed by tens of thousands of GOP and DEM volunteers, ensure integrity of electoral process,” he wrote. “Elections are not rigged.”
And Trump ally Peter King, a congressman from New York, said on Monday that he didn’t think the elections would be “legally rigged.”
“Whoever wins, wins,” he said in a radio interview that was reported by CNN. “But I do think there’s a lot to what he’s saying, whether it’s conscious or not, of having people in the so-called establishment, whatever that is, the big money people, the media, the political leaders, they are petrified of the thought of Trump being elected. So they consciously and unconsciously just do everything they can.”