Former president donald trump described in great detail Thursday night how he allegedly delivered a election victory 2018 to the now governor. Ron DeSantis sending FBI agents to stop “ballot theft” in a major Florida county.
But officials said Friday that the former president’s account was fabricated.
“It never happened,” former Justice Department spokesperson Sarah Isgur tweeted Friday.
His comment on Twitter was in response to Trump’s statement about the Florida election that year.
“[A]After the race, when votes were being stolen by the corrupt electoral process in Broward County, and Ron was losing ten thousand votes a day, along with now Senator Rick Scott, I sent in the FBI and federal prosecutors, and the ballot the robbery ended immediately, just before they ran out of votes needed to win. I stopped them from stealing their election,” Trump wrote.
The new claims, which he did not support with any evidence, were accompanied by scathing comments criticizing DeSantis, whom Trump referred to as “Ron DeSanctimonious,” at a time when the Republican governor and potential 2024 presidential candidate is drawing praise. right. media for its resounding re-election victory on Tuesday. The New York Post, in Trump’s former hometown, declared Florida’s governor the GOP’s “DeFuture” and called Trump his past.
Trump’s statement on the 2018 gubernatorial race also raised serious questions about whether he could have used federal agents to intervene in an election. The bar for the FBI to be involved in electoral tabulation is enormously high, and there are strict guidelines that prohibit the FBI’s presence inside polling places.
The FBI field office in Miami referred inquiries about Trump’s post to the office’s Washington headquarters, which declined to comment. The US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida in Miami did not respond to requests for comment.
The Broward County elections office also did not respond to a request for comment, but a spokesman disputed Trump’s version in a statement to the Tallahassee Democrat.
“The Broward County Supervisor of Elections Office has no documentation of any federal police presence during the 2018 election,” Iván Castro, a spokesman for the Broward County Supervisor of Elections, told the newspaper. “Also, to clarify, there is no evidence of corruption during the 2018 election cycle in Broward County.”
DeSantis victory declared on Election Night 2018, but the race was put into an automatic recount as his margin of victory over Democrat Andrew Gillum was less than 0.5%.
Trump, in his statement Thursday, pinpointed how DeSantis edged out favorite Adam Putnam in the 2018 primary after getting his endorsement.
In that year’s state Senate race, Scott’s victory over Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson was also subject to an automatic recount. As Scott’s lead began to narrow into recount territory, he said he was concerned about “rampant fraud.”
“I will not stand by while unethical liberals try to steal this election from the people of Florida,” said Scott, who was governor at the time.
It was also then that Trump tweeted: “Police are investigating another major corruption scandal involving voter fraud in #Broward & Palm Beach. Florida voted for Rick Scott!”
State election officials said at the time there was no evidence of voter fraud.
At the local level, a audit of the 2018 election in Broward County found the election to be a disaster, but did not mention any fraud or federal involvement.
“We conclude that the November 2018 elections were not conducted efficiently and effectively. Delays in the processing and tabulation of vote-by-mail ballots delayed the results of the elections” and they say that “the results were presented late and the state rejected them,” found the audit, which called for several reforms.
On Thursday, Trump made it clear that he was outraged that DeSantis refused to say he will not run for president in 2024 if Trump does. Trump has repeatedly teased a 2024 presidential bid, recently saying he will make a big announcement Tuesday night, without offering additional details.
“The fake news asks him if he will run if President Trump runs, and he says, ‘I’m just focused on the governor’s race, I’m not looking to the future.’ Well, in terms of loyalty and class, that’s not really the right answer,” Trump said in Thursday’s statement. “Ron DeSanctimonious is playing!”
Ryan J Reilly, michael kosnar, and dilanian Y Ali Vitali contributed.