The British government has refused to condemn Donald Trump after he falsely claimed victory in the U.S. election and branded legitimate voting “a fraud” that he will fight in the Supreme Court.
Touring television studios shortly after Trump had finished his address, UK foreign secretary Dominic Raab would not be drawn on the former The Apprentice star’s remarks at the White House.
Trump said “as far as I am concerned we have already won” to a crowd of supporters. “We want all the voting to stop,” Trump added. “This is a fraud on the American public.”
At the time Trump claimed victory, he was both behind in the electoral college and popular vote with a number of states yet to declare results and millions of votes yet to be counted.
Raab gave carefully worded answers to questions about Trump. With no victor yet apparent, it is in the interests of the UK government to keep both the Trump and Joe Biden camps sweet — particularly with a U.S. trade deal being crucial to the country’s prosperity outside of the European Union.
“Whatever the election night comments from either side of the campaign, I’m confident and have full faith in the U.S. institutions — the checks and balances in the U.S. system — that will produce a definitive result,” Raab told the BBC. “We’ll watch with interest, but forgive me if I don’t comment on the commentary.”
BBC World News America presenter Katty Kay pressed Raab to scold Trump. “This is the president of the United States subverting democracy. As a close friend, wouldn’t it be good to call your close friend out?” she asked.
Raab responded: “I think that you’re now engaging in the campaign rather than just reporting on it. The truth is, what’s really important now is we wait and see how this uncertainty unfolds… we’re not going to get involved in the election night.”
You can watch the exchange here:
"I'm confident and have full faith" US institutions will produce a "definitive result"
— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) November 4, 2020
In a separate interview with NBC-owned Sky News, Raab reflected on how the vote might impact the UK/U.S. special relationship. “I’m not worried about the relationship. The contours of the opportunities and the risks always shift a little bit, but that needs to be set against the context of this bedrock and this wider set of interests which are so strong,” he explained.