President Donald Trump claimed, with no evidence, that California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) will make sure Democrats win the state in the upcoming general election thanks to “a pure Sleepy Joe Democrat firm to count and ‘harvest’ votes.”
“No way Republicans get a fair shake. Lawyers, get started!!!” Trump wrote. “California is in big trouble. Vote Trump and watch the greatest comeback of them all!!! Also, New York and Illinois – go for it!”
California hired a pure Sleepy Joe Democrat firm to count and “harvest” votes. No way Republicans get a fair shake. Lawyers, get started!!! @GOPLeader California is in big trouble. Vote Trump and watch the greatest comeback of them all!!! Also, New York and Illinois – go for it!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 13, 2020
Trump’s message appeared to be in reference to California hiring public affairs and consulting firm SKD Knickerbocker to run a campaign encouraging mail-in voting during the pandemic, which the president has repeatedly disparaged.
Last month, GOP lawmakers launched an investigation into the $35 million contract awarded to the firm by California Secretary of State Alex Padilla (D), arguing that the voter outreach campaign is a conflict of interest because of the work SKD Knickerbocker has done with Joe Biden’s presidential campaign.
“The Committee on Oversight and Reform is conducting oversight of a $35 million contract the California Secretary of State’s office awarded to a pro-Biden consulting firm, SKD Knickerbocker, to ‘produce advertising to encourage voters to participate in the November election,’ ” House Oversight and Reform Committee ranking member James Comer (R-Ky.), Oversight Subcommittee on Government Operations ranking member Jody Hice (R-Ga.) and House Administration Committee ranking member Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) wrote in a letter to Padilla.
They added: “This contract will undoubtedly provide a partisan firm the opportunity to use taxpayer money to influence the federal election.”
Anita Dunn, the firm’s managing director, has worked as a strategist for Biden’s campaign.
The president has repeatedly claimed that mail-in-voting will lead to cases of voter fraud, a claim not supported by any evidence or studies by political scientists.