WASHINGTON ― The commander in chief who reportedly called U.S. troops “suckers” and “losers” is now pushing a ballot-counting policy that could disenfranchise tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of American service members who are voting from overseas.
President Donald Trump, in social media posts and remarks, is demanding that all ballots be counted by election night, even though federal law permits states to count ballots from troops stationed outside the United States, diplomats and other Americans abroad to have their ballots counted days later, as long as they were sent no later than Election Day.
In Trump’s new home state of Florida, the deadline for this election is Nov. 13. So, for example, his attempt to skew the counting in his favor could prevent service members deployed overseas from the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville or from Southern Command headquarters in Doral from having their votes matter.
“Trump simply never thinks of the military in his decisions. They just don’t matter to him,” said Fred Wellman, a retired Army helicopter pilot who now works with the anti-Trump Lincoln Project. “Thousands of ballots are inbound from around the world, and if Trump gets his way they won’t even be counted at all. It’s un-American and yet another failure to act as a competent and decent commander in chief because they are simply props for his ego.”
This is unsurprising. It’s just solely about him. The soldiers, sailors and Marines don’t matter. The foreign service officers don’t matter. Mac Stipanovich, Republican strategist
In a statement posted Monday ― and which was flagged by Twitter for being misleading ― Trump wrote: “Big problems and discrepancies with Mail In Ballots all over the USA. Must have final total on November 3rd.”
At a Las Vegas news conference Wednesday, Trump again insisted that all counting stop by the end of Election Day: “Hopefully the few states remaining that want to...