Michelle Obama has urged voters to ignore Donald Trump’s ‘conspiracy theories’ about voting fraud as the former first lady and her Hollywood friends try to rally Democratic turnout ahead of the November 3 election.
As the election nears, Trump has raged at the supposed threat of mail-in ballot fraud and last night refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he is defeated, despite widespread evidence that election fraud is very rare.
Speaking in an online event for her organization When We All Vote, Mrs Obama told actress Zendaya that ‘voting is easy, it is something we can do’.
‘Don’t listen to people who say that somehow voting is rigged and your vote will get lost and it won’t be counted,’ she said.
‘That is not true. So I don’t want people to be discouraged by those conspiracy theories that are being peddled out there about the validity of our election process because it’s just not true.’
Mrs Obama is rallying support from her friends in showbiz including Zendaya, Jennifer Lopez and Conan O’Brien as she tries to reverse the stinging defeat her husband’s party suffered at Trump’s hands in 2016.
The Obamas are Hollywood giants in their own right after making a deal with Netflix in 2018 to produce a series of shows, including a documentary follow-up to Michelle’s memoir Becoming.
Michelle Obama urged voters to reject ‘conspiracy theories’ about mail-in voting as Donald Trump (pictured at a White House news briefing yesterday) rages about supposed fraud
The When We All Vote event where Mrs Obama spoke on Tuesday also featured basketball player Chris Paul and actress Ayesha Curry.
Paul is a co-chair of the organization along with other celebrities including singer Selena Gomez, actor Tom Hanks and soccer player Megan Rapinoe.
Emmy winner Zendaya has a link to Mrs Obama’s organization on her Instagram profile and the pair have spoken warmly of each other since the Obamas were still in office.
The Obamas’ production company, Higher Ground Productions, already has an Academy Award to its name and the Becoming documentary was released earlier this year.
The memoir has sold more than 11million copies since its 2018 release and the documentary depicts her subsequent 34-city book tour.
The promotional tour was managed by the concert promoter Live Nation and had the scale of a rock tour, with a string of dates at sold-out arenas.
Michelle’s popularity has made her one of the Democrats’ main weapons in the presidential campaign.
Barack and Michelle Obama both spoke at the virtual Democratic National Convention last month, urging voters to back Joe Biden in November.
Michelle Obama spoke to Zendaya in an online event for the former first lady’s organization When We All Vote
Jennifer Lopez (left) and Conan O’Brien (right) are also among the celebrities backing Michelle Obama’s efforts to boost Democratic turnout ahead of the election
Mrs Obama’s comments this week came as Trump refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power in a renewed attack on the election process.
Researchers have found that mail-in voting fraud is extremely rare, including in states which hold their elections primarily by post.
But Trump has called the process a ‘scam’ and warned of a ‘rigged election’ as demand for mail-in ballots surges amid the coronavirus pandemic.
‘We’re going to have to see what happens,’ Trump said at a news conference on Wednesday, responding to a question about a possible transfer of power.
‘You know that I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots, and the ballots are a disaster.’
Trump appeared to suggest that if states got ‘rid of’ the unsolicited mailing of ballots there would be no concern about fraud or peaceful transfers of power.
‘You’ll have a very peaceful – there won’t be a transfer frankly,’ Trump said.
‘There’ll be a continuation. The ballots are out of control, you know it, and you know, who knows it better than anybody else? The Democrats know it better than anybody else.’
The Obamas are Hollywood giants in their own right after making a deal with Netflix in 2018 to produce a series of shows, including an adaptation of Michelle’s memoir Becoming
Biden was asked about Trump’s comment after landing in Wilmington, Delaware, on Wednesday night.
‘What country are we in?’ Biden asked, adding: ‘I’m being facetious. Look, he says the most irrational things. I don’t know what to say about it. But it doesn’t surprise me.’
The Biden campaign added: ‘The American people will decide this election. And the United States government is perfectly capable of escorting trespassers out of the White House.’
The ACLU also protested Trump’s remarks. ‘The peaceful transfer of power is essential to a functioning democracy,’ national legal director David Cole said.
‘This statement from the president of the United States should trouble every American.’
In a July interview, Trump similarly refused to commit to accepting the results.
‘I have to see. Look… I have to see,’ Trump told Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday. ‘No, I’m not going to just say yes. I’m not going to say no, and I didn’t last time either.’