Former Trump official falsely claims Hillary Clinton also demanded recounts


Clinton conceded the day after the 2016 election.

One of Donald Trump's former White House chiefs of staff falsely claimed on Monday that it is "normal" to hold up presidential election results for recounts. As proof, he lied about what Hillary Clinton did after the election in 2016.

On "CBS This Morning," Reince Priebus, who is currently both a CBS News analyst and an adviser to Trump on his legal challenges to the 2020 vote count, was asked what Trump hopes to accomplish by refusing to accept the result of the election.

Priebus suggested that states need to recanvass their votes and then conduct massive recounts to determine whether Trump really lost. President-elect Joe Biden, he suggested, should wait until December to start any transition.

"If the president can't turn it around after that, then I do think you're going to see more of a normal transition," Priebus predicted.

"I can just tell you that it's normal for a canvass to take place. It's normal for a recount to take place. Hillary Clinton had four recounts, four years ago," the former Republican National Committee chair incorrectly claimed. "I just think the Trump campaign isn't gonna do anything, as far as making statements, congratulatory statements, until that's over."

"People that are excited about President Biden potentially being sworn into office, people who are happy about that — I just think they need to wait a couple more weeks so that this process takes place," Priebus said.

Every major media outlet has now called the 2020 election, and it is clear that Joe Biden is the winner. Biden comfortably won majorities in both the popular vote and the Electoral College.

But Trump has refused to concede, and his administration has blocked President-elect Biden's team from beginning the transition.

While it does appear that the margins in some states will trigger automatic recounts or allow the losing candidate to request one, experts say these would be very unlikely to affect the outcome.

In Priebus' home state of Wisconsin, where Trump appears to have lost by roughly 20,000 votes, the Trump campaign has made noise about demanding a recount. But according to the Washington Post, it has not yet committed to putting up the $3 million payment such a recount would require in advance.

Though Trump's margin of victory was actually closer in 2016 than Biden's is in 2020, Hillary Clinton did not in fact draw out the process with lengthy delays or recount demands. On Nov. 9, one day after the 2016 election, she conceded defeat, telling supporters: "Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and a chance to lead."

However, 2016 Green Party nominee Jill Stein raised millions of dollars to pay for recounts in three states narrowly won by Trump. Those did almost nothing to change the final vote counts; Trump denounced them, tweeting on Nov. 26, 2016: "The Green Party scam to fill up their coffers by asking for impossible recounts is now being joined by the badly defeated & demoralized Dems."

It is not mandatory that Trump or Priebus publicly acknowledge that Biden is going to be sworn in as president on Jan. 20, as his inauguration will proceed either way.

But with an ongoing pandemic and economic crisis and many positions in the federal government sitting vacant, the outgoing administration's delay of the transition process could hamper Biden's ability to start work immediately after he takes office.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.