Speaking to several thousand supporters at an airport in Jacksonville, Fla., President Trump warned that his opponent, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., would “pack” the Supreme Court, even though Mr. Biden has not embraced calls from some Democrats to do so, warning that Mr. Trump could do the same.
“If given power, Biden and his supporters would pack the court,” Mr. Trump said. “You know they’re talking about packing the court.”
The number of Supreme Court justices is set by law, not the Constitution, and some Democrats have proposed adding seats to the court that Mr. Biden could fill if the former vice president wins in November.
Mr. Biden has said he opposes the idea, although earlier this week he declined to restate his view, saying it would “shift all the focus” to Mr. Trump’s advantage.
“I guess we could do that too, right?” Mr. Trump added. “We could do that.”
Mr. Trump also expressed renewed appreciation for his frequent political foil, Senator Mitt Romney, Republican of Utah, who voted to remove Mr. Trump from office during his impeachment trial but says he will vote for Mr. Trump’s nominee to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
“I’m no longer angry at Mitt, because he’s being very nice on the Supreme Court,” Mr. Trump said.
Mr. Trump added that Democrats have themselves to blame for their apparent inability to block his nominee, and singled out the former Democratic Senate leader, Harry Reid.
In 2013, Mr. Reid exercised what was known as “the nuclear option,” eliminating the filibuster power that allowed the Senate minority to block executive branch and federal judiciary appointments with 41 votes. Mr. Reid preserved that power for Supreme Court nominations, but after Republicans took control of the Senate, the Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, eliminated that power for Supreme Court nominations.
“It was Harry Reid who made this all possible. Thank you very much Harry, I hope you’re enjoying your evening,” Mr. Trump said. “They blame us. Harry Reid gave us the power — ‘nuclear option.’”
Mr. Trump has accelerated the pace of his campaigning this fall and is now holding rallies more days than not. Speaking with an oversized American flag flapping overhead, Mr. Trump suggested that he has ample time to speak to voters.
Early in his remarks he told people standing in the crowd that they might want to sit down because, he said, “I’ll be here for a while.”
“I have nothing else to do,” Mr. Trump added facetiously, “except run a country.”
A day after President Trump’s refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power drew rebukes from Democrats, nervous distancing from Republicans and attempts at reassurance from the White House, Mr. Trump weighed in again Thursday and said that he was not sure the November election could be “honest” because mail-in ballots are “a whole big scam.”
“We want to make sure that the election is honest and I’m not sure that it can be,” Mr. Trump told reporters before leaving the White House for North Carolina.
Mr. Trump was responding to a reporter’s question about whether he would consider the November election results legitimate only if he wins.
Instead of repeating his press secretary’s assurance earlier in the day that he would accept the results of a “free and fair” election, Mr. Trump instead launched into his latest complaint about mail-in ballots, which he has repeatedly asserted without evidence are likely to be tainted by widespread fraud, and suggested that the election will not, in fact, be fairly decided.
“So, we have to be very careful with the ballots. The ballots — you know, that’s a whole big scam,” Mr. Trump said, citing what he said were news reports about ballots found “in a river” and a trash can.
Earlier in the day, Christopher A. Wray, the director of the F.B.I., told lawmakers that he had not seen evidence of a “coordinated national voter fraud effort,” undercutting Mr. Trump’s effort to stoke fears about mail-in ballots.
The president’s remarks struck a different tone from that of other prominent Republicans, who spent the day making it clear that they were committed to the orderly transfer of power. His refusal Wednesday to commit to accepting the results of November’s election — something no other modern president has put in doubt — led Democrats to condemn him as a threat to American democracy.
On Thursday, Mr. Trump cited an August comment by his 2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton, who said that former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. “should not concede under any circumstances.” But Mrs….
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