BY: ADIA ROBINSON, ABC NEWS
(WASHINGTON) — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sunday he thought Tuesday’s election was about a rejection of President Donald Trump and that it is a “mistake” for Republicans not to acknowledge former Vice President Joe Biden’s apparent win, while separately, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem continued to cast doubt on the election result.
“The country rejected the negativity, the personality, the controversy,” Cuomo told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on “This Week.”
He said Trump did everything he could to divide the nation.
“He disunited the States of America,” Cuomo said and then added that many Republicans’ refusal to acknowledge Biden’s apparent win furthered division.
“First of all, it is the exact disunity that was just rejected,” he said. “Now you’re going to stretch to find some legal case and further deteriorate trust in the democratic institution of this nation? If these election results came in on one night, George, it would be called a blow-out. That would be the headline.”
Trump has yet to concede the election and he has falsely claimed that he won and alleged voter fraud without evidence. The president’s legal team has also filed lawsuits in several key states to challenge the election results.
Following Cuomo’s interview, Noem echoed the president and alleged fraud in key states, despite Stephanopoulos pointing out that there was no evidence of widespread voting fraud.
“I don’t know how widespread it is,” the South Dakota governor said. “I don’t know if it will change the outcome of the election. But why is everybody so scared just to have a fair election and find out?”
“We gave Al Gore 37 days to run the process before we decided who was going to be president,” Noem continued, referring to the contentious 2000 presidential election that resulted in a Supreme Court ruling and a win for former President George W. Bush. “Why would we not afford the 70.6 million Americans that voted for President Trump the same consideration?”
“Back in 2000, Al Gore was given his day in court,” she continued. “We should give President Trump his day in court.”
Stephanopoulos pushed back on that comparison.
“Al Gore was behind by about 500 votes in one state, Florida. Joe Biden is ahead in all the close states,” he said.
As of Sunday morning, Biden was leading by more than 10,000 votes in Georgia and more than 18,500 votes in Arizona, two key states where ABC News has not yet projected a winner. Biden also had a 42,000-vote lead in Pennsylvania and a 31,000-vote lead in Nevada.
Noem characterized her support for a legal challenge to the election result as setting a precedent.
“All I’m asking for, George, is that we don’t break this country. When you break the process on which we elect our leaders, you will break America forever,” she said. “So this isn’t just about this election. This is about every election in the future.”
Moving past the election, Cuomo said that he thought there would be a shift in the pandemic response.
“I think you’ll see a different tone now, I think you’ll even see some governors start to take a different tone now that Mr. Trump is out of office,” he said. “I think the political pressure of denying COVID is gone. I think you’ll see scientists speak with an unmuzzled voice now.”
Cases in both New York and South Dakota have been trending upward in the last week, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project. New York has more than 525,000 cases and an increase of more than 3,500 cases a day. South Dakota has more than 53,900 cases and an increase of more than 1,000 cases a day.
When Stephanopoulos asked Noem if she was prepared to work with Biden to get the pandemic under control, the South Dakota governor responded by saying it was too early to discuss working with the Biden administration on such major issues.
“This is a premature conversation because we have not finished counting votes,” she said. “There are states that have not been called.”
Cuomo cautioned that the next two months could be among the worst for the pandemic and looked ahead to the process of a vaccine rollout.
“If this administration rolls out a flawed vaccination plan it’s going to be a problem because it’s going to be very hard for the Biden administration to turn it back,” he said.
With COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths on the rise in South Dakota, Noem said the increase was regional and that they had increased their testing capacity.
“And, frankly, George, I’m not going to take advice from Gov. Cuomo,” she said. “He has the second worst death rate per 100,000 people in this nation. He’s at 173 deaths per 100,000, per capita. South Dakota is at 54.”
Noem added that she appreciated how Trump approached to the pandemic.
“President Trump gave us the flexibility to do the right thing in our state, and we’ll continue to do that,” she said. “He let me do my job.”
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