Trump tries to backpedal after his call for supporters to vote twice creates outrage

President Trump on Thursday walked back his suggestion that Americans should vote twice in November’s election after the shocking claim prompted a widespread backlash.

In a string of all-caps tweets, Trump said he doesn’t actually want people to vote twice — which is illegal — even though he told a crowd of supporters in North Carolina on Wednesday that they should.

Instead, Trump suggested his initial claim had been misinterpreted and that he only wants voters to double-check that their ballots have been counted if they cast them by mail in the November election.

“On Election Day, or Early Voting, go to your Polling Place to see whether or not your Mail In Vote has been Tabulated (Counted). If it has you will not be able to Vote & the Mail In System worked properly. If it has not been Counted, VOTE (which is a citizen’s right to do),” Trump wrote. “YOU ARE NOW ASSURED THAT YOUR PRECIOUS VOTE HAS BEEN COUNTED, it hasn’t been ’lost, thrown out, or in any way destroyed.’ GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!”

However, Trump’s tweet doesn’t match up with what he said Wednesday.

Speaking before a crowd of supporters in Wilmington, N.C., Trump said people should try to cast ballots both by mail and in-person to push the limits of mail-in voting.

“Let them send it in and let them go vote, and if their system’s as good as they say it is, then obviously they won’t be able to vote,” Trump said. “If it’s as good as they say it is, then obviously they won’t be able to vote. If it isn’t tabulated, they’ll be able to vote. So that’s the way it is. And that’s what they should do.”

Deliberately casting more than one ballot in a U.S. election amounts to voter fraud, which is a felony in North Carolina.

Still, Attorney General William Barr, the nation’s top law enforcement official, refused to condemn Trump’s comments, telling CNN in an interview late Wednesday that he doesn’t “know what the law of a particular state says.”

Ironically, Trump has for months pushed baseless accusations that expanded mail-in voting in November’s election will result in widespread voter fraud beneficial to Joe Biden and Democrats.

There’s no evidence for Trump’s fraud fretting.

20 PHOTOSVoters head to the polls for the 2018 Midterm ElectionsSee GalleryVoters head to the polls for the 2018 Midterm ElectionsVoters line up in the rain outside Bright Family and Youth Center in the Columbia Heights neighborhood in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018. Across the country, voters headed to the polls Tuesday in one of the most high-profile midterm elections in years.(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)Voters line up in the rain outside Bright Family and Youth Center in the Columbia Heights neighborhood in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018. Across the country, voters headed to the polls Tuesday in one of the most high-profile midterm elections in years.(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)A voter waits for assistance from a volunteer at the Tuttle Park Recreation Center, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Columbus, Ohio. Across the country, voters headed to the polls Tuesday in one of the most high-profile midterm elections in years. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)Voters prepare to vote at the Tuttle Park Recreation Center, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Columbus, Ohio. Across the country, voters headed to the polls Tuesday in one of the most high-profile midterm elections in years. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)Voters cast their ballots at the Glen Echo Presbyterian Church polling location, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Columbus, Ohio. Across the country, voters headed to the polls Tuesday in one of the most high-profile midterm elections in years. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, center, talks with a reporter at his polling place after voting on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018 in Butler, Pa. Kelly faces democratic challenger Ron DiNicola in the newly redrawn 16th district in Pennsylvania. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., right, candidate for Pennsylvania’s 10th Congressional District, greets a voter outside the Carroll Township Municipal Building, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Dillsburg, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., second from right, candidate for Pennsylvania’s 10th Congressional District, smiles as he waits in line to vote at the Carroll Township Municipal Building, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Dillsburg, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)Voters arrive at the Tuttle Park Recreation Center polling location, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Columbus, Ohio. Across the country, voters headed to the polls Tuesday in one of the most high-profile midterm elections in years. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)Poll worker Sarah Thomas places signs outside a precinct before polls open on election day in Atlanta, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018. Across the country, voters headed to the polls Tuesday in one of the most high-profile midterm elections in years. (AP Photo/David Goldman)Voters line up as the polls open at David Park Community Center Tuesday, Nov.6, 2018 in Hollywood, Fla. (Susan Stocker/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)A voter of the Jewish community is seen leaving after he cast his ballot in the midterm election at the East Midwood Jewish Center polling station in the Brooklyn borough of New York City on November 6, 2018. – Americans started voting Tuesday in critical midterm elections that mark the first major voter test of Donald Trump’s presidency, with control of Congress at stake. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP)(Photo credit should read ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images)FAIRFAX, USA – NOVEMBER 06 : Voters at the polls on early Tuesday to cast their votes in the midterm elections in Fairfax, Virginia, United States on November 06, 2018.(Photo by Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)A voter casts his ballot in the midterm election at the East Midwood Jewish Center polling station in the Brooklyn borough of New York City on November 6, 2018. – Americans started voting Tuesday in critical midterm elections that mark the first major voter test of Donald Trump’s presidency, with control of Congress at stake. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP)(Photo credit should read ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images)A man votes at the Greenspring Retirement center during the mid-term election day in Fairfax, Virginia on November 6, 2018. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP)(Photo credit should read ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images)Members of the Greenspring Republican club wait for potential voters to hand out information at the Greenspring Retirement center during the mid-term election day in Fairfax, Virginia on November 6, 2018. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP)(Photo credit should read ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images)Stickers sit as an election worker waits for people to vote during the midterm election at P.S. 140 in Manhattan in New York City, U.S., November 6, 2018. REUTERS/Andrew KellyVoters wait in line in the gymnasium at Brunswick Junior High School to receive their ballots for the mid-term election, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Brunswick, Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)Stuart Wood, from Stockton, Mo., votes at Caplinger Woods RV & Campgrounds, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Stockton, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)Kristen Leach votes with her six-month-old daughter, Nora, on election day in Atlanta, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018. (AP Photo/David Goldman)Up Next

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Mail-in ballots have actually proved remarkably secure, and many states are expanding access to them this year to make voting safer amid the coronavirus pandemic.

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein, a Democrat, didn’t buy Trump’s walk-back and called it outrageous for the president to encourage people to “break the law in order to help him sow chaos in our election.”

“Make sure you vote, but do NOT vote twice!” Stein tweeted. “I will do everything in my power to make sure the will of the people is upheld in November.”

Stein’s counterpart in Michigan put it more bluntly and took a shot at Trump over one of his most outrageous proposals for curing coronavirus.

“Don’t try this at home,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel tweeted. “I will prosecute you. Also, this might be a good time to remind people not to drink bleach.”

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