President Donald Trump is narrowly trailing former Vice President Joe Biden in the electoral college vote, with the count ongoing in several critical swing states. Fearing that the commander-in-chief — who has already declared a false victory — might work to stop the ongoing vote count, members of the Brooklyn Congressional Delegation vowed Wednesday to make sure every ballot is counted.
The delegation, led by Congressman Hakeem Jeffries and joined by Congresswomen Nydia Velázquez and Yvette Clarke, rallied with other local leaders at the Barclays Center, where they defended the democratic process.
“We will not allow Donald Trump to steal this election,” said Jeffries. “The fundamental principle of this country is government by the people, for the people so at the end of the day, the integrity of our democracy depends on the people deciding who gets the serve in the seat of power at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.”
Jeffries, the House Democratic Caucus chairman whose name is being floated as a potential replacement House Speaker, said Americans must “allow the process to play itself out over the next few days.”
“Any declaration of victory by the current occupant of the White House is baseless, flawed, and irresponsible,” he said Wednesday. “Joe Biden will win the popular vote by millions – he’s currently up in the Electoral College count and is on track to win. It’s our estimation that when all the votes have been counted Joe Biden will be the 46th president of the United States.”
Clarke called on New Yorkers to “take a deep breath,” charging that the nation is “being antagonized by a man who will stop at nothing to steal the election.”
“It is clear in the midst of a pandemic, we have the expectation that as people mailed in ballots, absentee ballots, it will take a moment for us to get a final conclusion,” she said. “Unfortunately, we have an inept, highly irresponsible individual in the White House who continues to stoke fear and racism as a means to his end to trying to maintain power as an authoritarian in our nation. The democratic process is underway and we embrace that.”
Velázquez said she will not tell people who mailed in ballots “that we are sorry, the president has declared himself the winner.”
“This is not Russia,” she said. “We implore and beg everyone to stay calm.”
Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo, the City Council’s majority leader, said it was appropriate for the delegation to gather at the Barclays Center, where much of the borough’s Black Lives Matter protests occurred earlier this year.
“We have much work to do in this country, but we cannot think or expect a country built on racism and economy to change that overnight,”she said. “We call those states battleground states, but it translates into communities where black Americans live.
“We showed out strong, came out strong,” she added. “All those people in wheelchairs, pregnant, our seniors, those who are disabled, those with children, waited in long lines, in the rain — thank God for you. Your vote will not go in vain.”
Biden edged closer to victory on Thursday, holding narrow leads in Nevada and Arizona. Meanwhile Trump has alleged voter fraud, filed lawsuits and called for recounts in a race still yet to be decided.
This story first appeared on AMNY.com.