Donald Trump’s premature claim to have won a US presidential election which is still too close to call has prompted European politicians to call for all voters to actually be counted before a winner is declared.
European Commission chief spokesperson Eric Mamer said, “We are awaiting that the authorities in charge of the vote count announce the results. We will abide by whatever announcement is forthcoming officially by the relevant US authorities, and we think that everybody should do likewise,” Politico reported.
The remarks were seen as an indirect rebuke to Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa, who tweeted: “It’s pretty clear that American people have elected @realDonaldTrump @Mike_Pence for #4moreyears. More delays and facts denying from #MSM, bigger the final triumph for #POTUS. Congratulations @GOP for strong results across the #US”.
Twitter added a health warning to the tweet, saying: “Official sources may not have called the race when this was tweeted.” Elsewhere there was an implicit criticism of Trump from European politicians who stressed that all votes had to be counted.
Iratxe García Pérez, leader of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament tweeted, “Time to wait for the final results of #USAElections2020, in full respect of the electoral process. Trump’s behaviour undermines US democracy. Hoping that @JoeBiden will bring new hope both to US citizens and to the whole world.”
Saskia Esken, co-leader of the German Social Democratic Party told the Rheinische Post newspaper, “A candidate, even if he is the incumbent president, who calls for postal votes not to be counted, is acting anti-democratically.”
Other politicians warned that American democracy was at risk. Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: “Crucial hours and days ahead for the integrity of US democracy. Let’s hope we start to hear the voices of Republicans who understand the importance of that.”
Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, German Minister of Defence and leader of the Christian Democratic Union party said that the election had not been decided yet, and warned that a “battle over the legitimacy of the result” had begun. “That’s a very explosive situation,” she said.
In the UK, foreign secretary Dominic Raab was criticised for failing to call out Trump’s baseless claims of victory. Asked on BBC News whether Trump was right to say “there is a fraud on the American public and frankly we did win this election” before the result was clear, Raab said, “You are asking me to comment on the campaign commentary from both sides and indeed the pundits which, forgive me, I’ll refrain from doing.”
“I’m fully confident that the US system with all its checks and balances in it will produce a definitive result and we’ll, as a close friend of America, watch and see how it turns out.”
Shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy told Sky News: “I think it’s perhaps not surprising but it is deeply shocking to hear a presidential candidate in one of the, if not the most powerful country in the world suggest that democracy will be overridden and that votes don’t count… I found it deeply shocking that the foreign secretary was unable to stand up for that principle.”
“Britain has believed in democracy, has sought to advance democracy throughout the world throughout our history. Now is not the moment to row back on that commitment. We have to be absolutely clear that we stand with the American people… Britain has to be absolutely clear on that as we would with any other country in the world”
At Prime Minister’s Questions, Labour leader Keir Starmer asked Boris Johnson to agree that it is not for a candidate to call the results of an election. Johnson said, “Of course we don’t comment as a UK government on the democratic processes of our friends and allies.”
Meanwhile, Biden has won the vital battleground of Wisconsin, flipping a state won by Donald Trump in 2016 and boosting his own chances of winning the White House, US media projected.
The Associated Press, called the race in favour of the former vice president, giving him 10 more electoral votes and a total so far of 248. The magic number for victory is 270.
The Trump campaign has announced its intention to request a recount in the state, citing “reports of irregularities… which raise serious doubts about the validity of the result.”
With 94 per cent of votes counted in the state, Biden led Trump by about 20,000 votes.
Barack Obama won Wisconsin by seven points in 2012. But Hillary Clinton famously did not even bother to campaign there in 2016 and ended up suffering an embarrassing defeat to Trump, by less than a percentage point.