President-elect Donald Trump claimed Sunday that he won the popular vote, saying that millions of people “voted illegally,” following recount efforts pushed forward by former Green Party candidate Jill Stein last week.
In a series of mid-afternoon Twitter posts, Trump wrote: “In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.”
“It would have been much easier for me to win the so-called popular vote than the Electoral College in that I would only campaign in 3 or 4 states instead of the 15 states that I visited. I would have won even more easily and convincingly (but smaller states are forgotten)!” he added.
Last week, Clinton’s lead in the popular vote total surpassed Trump by more than 2 million. But Trump handily took the Electoral College votes. After Michigan was officially called for Trump last Friday, he now has 306 votes to Clinton’s 232 votes.
Trump has previously suggested that if the election was determined by the popular vote—and not the Electoral College—he would have strategized his campaign differently, focusing on high-population states like New York, California, Florida, and Texas instead of smaller battleground states. Meanwhile, the Electoral College’s impact on voter behavior is difficult to quantify. It cold be argued that the incentive to vote is diminished in states where voters believe or can expect that their votes are less likely to have an impact on the outcome.
But over the weekend, Hillary Clinton’s campaign advisor, Marc Elias, said the campaign would join Stein’s recount efforts in Wisconsin, which had 10 electoral votes. “We have had numerous meetings and calls with various outside experts to hear their concerns and to discuss and review their data and findings,” he wrote on Medium.
The president-elect said that Clinton said she “conceded the election when she called me just prior to the victory speech and after the results were in.”
“Nothing will change,” he tweeted—just hours after he described Stein’s push as a “scam.”
For her part, Stein, who garnered about 1 percent of the national vote, said she’s challenging the results to ensure confidence in the U.S. election system and to make sure that hackers didn’t sway the vote in Wisconsin. She’s been raising money online to cover the costs of recounts in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.
“It is about securing confidence in our election system. This challenge is not about changing the election result, but about securing a process that ensures that every votes actually counts for the candidate that each voter intended to receive that vote,” David Cobb, Stein’s campaign manager, told The Hill.