Deeply partisan officials are overseeing the tight race in battleground Pennsylvania, some of who have publicly expressed disdain for President Trump.
Three Democrat officials overseeing the process in Pennsylvania — Gov. Tom Wolf (D), Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar (D), and Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D) –have publicly expressed opposition to President Trump in deeply partisan ways in the past. Now, they are urging the American people to trust them in fairly overseeing the process that could very well determine the next President of the United States.
On Thursday, former acting Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Richard Grenell brought attention to a 2017 tweet from Boockvar, who openly expressed her anti-Trump views on social media.
“Using the title ‘President’ before the word ‘Trump’ really demeans the office of the presidency…” she wrote:
Using the title 'President' before the word 'Trump' really demeans the office of the presidency…
— Kathy Boockvar (@KathyBoockvar) March 7, 2017
Pennsylvania’s Secretary of State will do anything to defeat Trump.
Anything. Think about having this woman in charge of vote counting…. https://t.co/rjkR7zOAnr
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) November 5, 2020
Attorney General Shapiro, however, has publicized his anti-Trump sentiments in recent days. On Saturday, three days prior to the election, Shapiro stated that “if all the votes are added up in PA, Trump is going to lose.”
“Does anyone know why a sitting Attorney General in a swing state is assuring us Trump will lose his state tomorrow ‘If all the votes are added up…’?! Does he know or is he planning something we’re clueless about?” former New York State assemblyman Dov Hikind said at the time.
“Can someone explain to me how the attorney general of PA knows the results of the election the day before the election itself?” political commentator Dave Rubin asked.
On Election Day, Shapiro doubled down, actively encouraging voters to reach out to Democrat officials for issues related to voting or their ballots:
If all the votes are added up in PA, Trump is going to lose. That’s why he’s working overtime to subtract as many votes as possible from this process.
For the record, he’s 0-6 against us in court. We’ve protected voting rights. Now, ignore the noise—vote!https://t.co/mN8t6TDud7
— Josh Shapiro (@JoshShapiroPA) October 31, 2020
Need help with your mail in ballot, finding out where to vote, or something else?
— Josh Shapiro (@JoshShapiroPA) November 3, 2020
His partisan remarks in the days leading up to the election, and thereafter, triggered mounting calls for him to “step aside.”
“Shapiro cannot be seen as having his thumb on the scale, acting in the dual roles of legal arbiter of the vote and a candidate deeply invested in its outcome,” Pennsylvania GOP Attorney General candidate Heather Heidelbaugh, demanding Shapiro to “appoint a trusted and impartial deputy to oversee any legal questions and disputes in which that office might play a role concerning this election.”
Others have accused him of actively trying to “steal” the election in Pennsylvania from the president.
Gov. Wolf, who Pennsylvanians have referred to as a “dictator” due to his handling of the Chinese coronavirus pandemic, has also publicly expressed his opposition to the president, particularly criticizing him for holding “unsafe” campaign rallies during the campaign despite attending a protest himself. He also once inferred that a senior legal adviser for Trump’s reelection campaign engaged in “hate speech” for “misgendering” Rachel Levine, the state’s transgender Secretary of Health.
Now Wolf is, essentially, accusing the Trump campaign of engaging in “efforts to disenfranchise Pennsylvania voters.”
“Pennsylvania is going to fight every single attempt to disenfranchise voters and continue to administer a free and fair election,” Wolf said on Wednesday.
“Our election officials at the state and local level should be free to do their jobs without intimidation or attacks. These attempts to subvert the democratic process are disgraceful,” he added.
His statement followed the Trump campaign filing a lawsuit to halt ballot counting in Pennsylvania, which had “millions” of outstanding mail-in ballots as of Wednesday, per the governor. The Trump team is also pursuing a legal challenge of Pennsylvania’s extension of its deadline for mail-in ballots received.
The Trump campaign scored a legal victory on Thursday after a lower court ruled that GOP observers can watch ballot counters. However, officials temporarily halted the count in Philadelphia after Democrats took issue with the ruling, bringing it to the state’s Supreme Court:
BREAKING: Petition to appeal has been filed with PA Supreme Court related to Philly canvassing case.
The Supreme Court will review the appeal and determine whether to grant or deny. The Court has taken no action on this petition at this time.
— Chelsea Koerbler (@ChelseaKoerbler) November 5, 2020
“As a country and a commonwealth, we must reject efforts to intimidate election workers and prevent votes from being counted,” Wolf said Thursday.
The Trump campaign declared victory in Pennsylvania on Wednesday, and Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller told reporters that they remain “completely confident of that.”
Meanwhile, there are reports of Democrat officials in Pennsylvania “privately” speaking to the Biden campaign, laying out what they believe will be the former vice president’s margin of victory in the crucial state.