WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Business groups across the United States on Wednesday urged Republican President Donald Trump, Democratic challenger Joe Biden, the media and all Americans to allow time to count all valid ballots cast in the 2020 elections.
Trump declared victory early Wednesday, made unsubstantiated allegations of electoral fraud and called for a stop to counting the ballots, even shocking some of his fellow Republicans and sowing cold in American business.
Biden leads the Electoral College tally based on the ballots counted Wednesday afternoon, but the picture is unclear in Pennsylvania, Georgia and some other states.
The Trump campaign has sued Michigan to stop its tally and said it will call for a new tally in another battlefield state, Wisconsin, which was won by Biden.
Leaders of the American Chamber of Commerce, AFL-CIO, America’s largest union federation, the National Association of Evangelicals and the National African-American Clery Network said in a joint statement that the violence, intimidation and other tactics would weaken the country.
“A free and fair election is an election in which anyone can vote, all ballots are counted according to law, and the American people, through their votes, determine the outcome,” the statement said.
Rufus Yerxa, a former U.S. government official who heads the 100-member U.S. National Trade Council, said concerns about the counting and possible crackdown on ballots had raised concerns among his colleagues other democracies at a time when Trump’s trade policy had already put many allies on the edge.
“I have felt a lot of concern in the world about what is going on here,” he told Reuters. “I told them that our election officials are always honest officials doing their job,” he said, adding, “But in my long career, I have never seen democracy and the rule of law. in such peril.
Trump has made attacks on the integrity of the U.S. elections a campaign theme, raising concerns about potential fraud involving mail-in ballots whose use has increased sharply due to the coronavirus pandemic, although voter fraud is extremely rare.
Jason Oxman, CEO of the Global Information Technology Industry Trade Association, highlighted the long history of peaceful and fair elections in the United States and urged all Americans to remain patient until “The votes are all counted”.
Jay Timmons, chief executive of the National Association of Manufacturers, said the manufacturers could help build unity in the deeply divided nation. “As we have done after every election over the past decade, manufacturers will be part of the solution and move forward in a way that strengthens us and leaves no one behind,” he said on Twitter.
Reporting by Andrea Shalal; edited by Grant McCool