Surrogates for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump accelerated their rhetoric on the racially charged issue of election fraud, accusing Democrats of systematic cheating in some of the largest U.S. cities.
"They leave dead people on the rolls, and then they pay people to vote those dead people four, five, six, seven, eight, nine times," former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union." He added, "Dead people generally vote for Democrats."
'Theft in Philadelphia'
Giuliani and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Georgia, singled out Philadelphia as a particular hotbed of alleged cheating.
"To suggest that we have, you don't have theft in Philadelphia is to deny reality," Gingrich said on ABC's "This Week."
Asked whether Republicans also cheated, Giuliani said that's rarely the case. "They don't control inner cities the way Democrats do," he said. Blacks and other minorities often comprise much of the population in U.S. inner cities.
Voting-rights advocates — and an increasing number of federal judges — have said there's no evidence that impersonation at the polling place is a widespread problem in the U.S. When it concluded in July that Texas' voter-ID law was racially discriminatory, a federal appeals court said there had been only two convictions for in-person voter fraud, out of 20 million votes cast, in the decade before the 2011 law was passed.
'We can't let them get away with this'
Another federal appeals court blocked a Republican-backed North Carolina law, saying its provisions "target African-Americans with almost surgical precision."
The measure imposed a photo-ID requirement, limited early voting and eliminated same-day registration.
Trump this month urged his supporters at a rally in Pennsylvania to monitor polling places for fraud, issuing what voting-rights advocates say was a call for intimidation.
"You've got to go out, and you've got to get your friends, and you've got to get everybody you know, and you've got to watch the polling booths because I hear too many stories about Pennsylvania, certain areas," Trump said.
"We can't let them get away with this, folks," he said in New Hampshire on Saturday.
Gingrich Sunday said the "best description" of the election was that it would be a 'coup de'tat,' a phrase that refers to the violent overthrow of a government.
Trump has repeatedly challenged the legitimacy of the election as he's fallen further behind Clinton in the polls in recent weeks. Trump said this week the election was "being rigged" for Democrat Hillary Clinton by media outlets through their reporting on allegations that he kissed and groped women without their consent.
'The obvious bias'
Not all Republicans have jumped on Trump's allegations of fraud. His running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, said he and Trump will "absolutely" accept the result of the election. Still, on NBC's "Meet the Press" Pence said "the sense of a rigged election" has been created by "the obvious bias in the national media."
House Speaker Paul Ryan also separated himself from the rhetoric. Ryan is "fully confident" the election will be carried out with integrity, his spokeswoman AshLee Strong said in a statement.
Democratic vice-presidential nominee Tim Kaine on Sunday accused Trump of engaging in "scare tactics," and said Russia was trying to influence the Nov. 8 election. The U.S. government has blamed the Russian government for hacking into the computer systems of Democratic groups and leaking information, including e-mails from Clinton's campaign chairman, John Podesta.
"Hillary and I stand up for the integrity of our elections," Kaine said on "This Week." "Hillary and I stand against Russian efforts to meddle in an American election."