LOS ANGELES – Thomas A. Saenz, president and general counsel of MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund), issued the following statement reminding all Americans that Donald J. Trump’s claim of victory is false, and that the outcome of the 2020 presidential election can only be determined after a full count of all votes:

“In the classic movie, ‘Casablanca,’ a pickpocket warns his unknowing marks to beware of the ‘vultures, vultures everywhere’ who will victimize them, and he pilfers their wallets as he beseeches them to be careful.  This flim-flam scheme apparently passes for political strategy in the camp of Donald Trump.  Last evening, as his electoral defeat became ever more clear, Trump began to screech repeatedly about the Democrats trying to ‘steal’ the election, just as he took steps (and begged for money) to do exactly that. Rather than billfolds, here Trump is seeking to pilfer our democratic right to vote.

“The right to vote means not just being able to complete and submit a ballot, but having it included in the electoral count as well.  Seeking to stop the counting of legitimate votes because you like the results as they stand is not elected leadership; it is dictatorship.  After repeated attempts, personally and through proxy, to deter and suppress participation by Latino and other minority voters in the past several months, Trump has found that his advance skullduggery was not enough, and he will now seek to disenfranchise legitimate voters who have already cast ballots.

“Although lies and hypocrisy are core to the Trump brand of demagoguery, today’s continual tirade must stop.  Trump’s pique over another voter rejection is no reason to undermine American democracy. When his screeching rhetoric does not work, Trump will run to the courts to ask an institution that he has continually decried to award him four more years despite the plain electoral outcome.  This too will undermine our constitutional democracy.

“At this point, Trump should spend less time plotting his journey to court to trample voters’ rights, and spend more time plotting how to avoid seeing the inside of a courtroom as criminal defendant.

“The petty thief in ‘Casablanca’ provided memorable comic relief, but stealing an election is no joke, and our democracy must not be the mark for Trump’s latest swindle.  The grifter-in-chief should stand down, and his coterie of sycophants, especially those who are themselves elected officials, should convince him to respect our nation’s democracy.”