Hogan Gidley, national press secretary for President Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign, assured Breitbart News radio listeners that Trump will be reelected this year so long as the election “is free and fair.” In fuller context, Gidley’s remarks appear to echo the Trump campaign’s fear-mongering about the integrity of this year’s election to undermine the credibility of a potential Trump loss.
During a July 26 interview with Breitbart News Sunday on SiriusXM Patriot, Gidley offered listeners reassurance of Trump’s reelection prospects in light of national polling that currently shows presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden leading Trump in several key states. The host asked Gidley for the “real picture” of Trump support in the country and whether there is a “sleeping giant of Trump support” that will activate on Election Day.
“If this election is free and fair, then Donald Trump will be elected, period,” Gidley said. “I think we’re ready for that.”
Trump and his allies in politics and media have repeatedly attacked efforts to offer expanded access to mail-in ballots as an alternative to conducting in-person voting at public polling places while the COVID-19 pandemic still rages. Last month, The New York Times reported that the president was “stepping up his attacks on the integrity of the election system.” That strategy was evident last week when Trump tweeted that unless mail-in voting is “changed by the courts,” the United States will see “the most CORRUPT ELECTION in our Nation’s History!”
Mail-In Voting, unless changed by the courts, will lead to the most CORRUPT ELECTION in our Nation’s History! #RIGGEDELECTION
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 21, 2020
In an interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace this month, Trump declined to answer definitively whether he would accept the results of this year’s presidential election. He told Wallace, “It depends. I think mail-in voting is going to rig the election, I really do.”
Add to that the fact that Trump and his allies in politics and media have spent years telling voters that Trump was and is under attack by nefarious “deep state” actors in the federal government who are trying to undermine the Trump agenda and effectively subvert the will of the Americans who voted for Trump in 2016.
Attacks on mail-in voting are hardly the Trump administration’s first push to question the integrity of U.S. elections. The White House launched a “commission on election integrity” in 2017 in a fruitless effort to try to prove that Trump had actually won the nation’s popular vote, not Hillary Clinton. After a string of scandals and embarrassments the commission folded in 2018, sort of, and the White House blamed former White House strategist Steve Bannon for coming up with the idea for the commission in the first place.
Trump and his campaign’s attacks on voting integrity have caused some to question whether Trump could contest the results of the 2020 election should he lose. Amherst College law professor Lawrence Douglas told Vox News in June that he worried that if Trump rejected the results of the election, Republicans in Congress might not enforce our political system’s guardrails against such a scenario.