Fox News anchor Eric Shawn fact-checked the Trump campaign’s repeated claims that poll watchers have been denied access to ballot counting sites in Pennsylvania and other states, pointing out on Friday that it’s “not true” that the campaign’s representatives haven’t been able to observe the process.
With Vice President Joe Biden on the cusp of clinching the election as he holds leads in several states that would push him well over 270 electoral votes, the president raged in a Thursday address, falsely claiming victory while making baseless allegations of widespread election fraud. Trump, along with his campaign and sympathetic Fox personalities, pointed to the blocking of poll watchers as proof of a corrupt system and illegitimate election results.
“They wouldn’t allow legally permissible observers,” Trump growled during his unhinged performance.
During a Friday report on the latest developments in Pennsylvania, Fox News host Dana Perino brought up Team Trump’s complaints about poll watchers, adding that the campaign is being asked to provide evidence of fraudulent activity that “they say they were not able to see.”
“That’s not true,” Shawn quickly shot back. “That’s just not true. The election poll watchers, they’re called canvass watchers, Republicans have been in this room, in that room, where they are supposed to be, standing alongside with the Democrats.”
Explaining that there’s a segregated area in the ballot processing center for the observers, Shawn declared that the “claims from the president about that is not true—it is false.” The Fox weekend anchor then explained that the Trump campaign lawyers were forced to admit that in court on Thursday.
“They indicated there were, at one point, 19 Republican watchers in the room,” he continued. “So we are getting two different messages from the Trump campaign. One from the president and the other from its lawyers who say the Republican watchers have been in there. They are unhappy with the fact they were 25 feet away. The federal judge said they have to be 6 feet away. That’s the issue.”
It is this mixed and muddled messaging that the president and his allies have leaned on in order to make the case that “shenanigans” have occurred in states that have swung towards Biden as more mail-in ballots—which lean heavily towards Democrats—have been counted.
Fox News host and informal Trump adviser Sean Hannity, for instance, complained on Thursday night about issues surrounding poll watchers to call for a “do-over” of the entire Pennsylvania election.
“The only remedy I would see at that point is they did it and they violated the law. Nobody can testify to the legitimacy of what their counting was,” he fumed. “Well what, a do-over in that state?”
Fox News contributor and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich went even further, telling Hannity that evening that Attorney General William Barr should arrest election workers for blocking observers and that the votes should be tossed.