Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich on Sunday encouraged Donald Trump supporters to "monitor" polling stations on election day in order to make sure the election is "not stolen," continuing the Republican presidential campaign's spread of a unsubstantiated conspiracy theories.
On ABC's This Week, when host Martha Raddatz asked Gingrich if he thought Trump fans should monitor the polls, he responded, "They should."
Trump recently told his supporters to sign up to become "election observers" to "watch your polling booths," especially in "certain areas."
Gingrich is the latest of Trump surrogates to publicly complain of the election being "rigged" against Trump, blaming the media's focus on Trump's treatment of women for the candidate's slipping poll numbers. On Sunday, Trump himself said Saturday Night Live was part of the media conspiracy against him.
According to a poll released Sunday from NBC News and the Wall Street Journal, Clinton is leading Trump by 11 points among likely voters on a ballot that includes third-party candidates.
"I think that without the unending one-sided assault of the news media, Trump would be beating Hillary by 15 points," Gingrich said Sunday.
"This is not about election officials at the precinct level, this is about last Friday when the networks spent 23 minutes on the Trump tape and less than one minute ... on the Hillary Clinton’s secret speeches that were being revealed on WikiLeaks," Gingrich said.
But later on Sunday, Trump made clear he wasn't just blaming the press, tweeting that the election was "absolutely being rigged" by the media "but also at many polling places."
Trump and his surrogates have encouraged his supporters to monitor voters in "certain areas" of Philadelphia and Chicago, making reference to a debunked conspiracy theory from 2012 that there was election fraud in predominantly black areas in those two cities, causing Mitt Romney to receive zero votes.
Gingrich alluded to this theory on This Week, but also highlighted a conspiracy from 1960 claiming that John F. Kennedy's father bought the election for his son in Chicago.
"I mean, again I’m old enough, I remember when Richard Nixon had the election stolen in 1960 and no serious historian doubts that Illinois and Texas were stolen," Gingrich said. "So to suggest that we have — that you don’t have theft in Philadelphia is to deny reality."
Gingrich was not the only Trump supporter embracing conspiracy theories on the Sunday morning shows, with former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani suggesting Democrats could steal the election by having dead people vote.
"Dead people generally vote for Democrats rather than Republicans," Giuliani told CNN's Jake Tapper.
"You want me to [say] that I think the election in Philadelphia and Chicago is going to be fair?" Giuliani asked. "I would have to be a moron to say that."
Some of Trump's supporters have enthusiastically responded to the campaign embracing conspiracy theories and calls to monitor polling places.
Ohio voter Steve Webb told the Boston Globe that he would actively engage in "racial profiling" and make voters of color feel "a little bit nervous."
“Trump said to watch your precincts. I’m going to go, for sure,” the 61-year-old said. “I’ll look for . . . well, it’s called racial profiling. Mexicans. Syrians. People who can’t speak American."
“I’m going to go right up behind them. I’ll do everything legally. I want to see if they are accountable," he continued. "I’m not going to do anything illegal. I’m going to make them a little bit nervous.”
A spokesperson for Paul Ryan, the current Republican speaker of the House, said Saturday that he is "fully confident" the election will be carried out with integrity.
Despite also criticizing the media's coverage of the Republican nominee, Trump's running mate Mike Pence told CBS on Sunday morning that he and his running mate will "respect the outcome of this election," no matter who wins.
"The peaceful transfer of power is a hallmark of American history," Pence said.
Ema O'Connor is a politics reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC.
Contact Ema O'Connor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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