Emily Maitlis has earned praise for her no-nonsense approach to a Trump supporter who insisted on pushing baseless election conspiracy theories during a televised interview.
Randi Reed, a Republican congressional candidate who ran for Nevada earlier in 2020, appeared on Newsnight on Wednesday evening as the 2020 presidential election rumbled on.
Maitlis started the interview by asking Reed if she would like to hear Donald Trump accepting the result that current polling had found – which puts Joe Biden narrowly ahead of the sitting president.
Reed replied: “Absolutely not. I completely agree with Trump that we need to get to the bottom of what’s going on before he can accept, let alone concede, the seat.
“To have an absolute stop in vote counting is completely unacceptable, but at the same time the Democrats laid out the exact plan and we’re just living it right now.”
“Sorry, I don’t understand,” Maitlis replied. She addd: “You’ve heard Donald Trump in a tweet claim victory in Pennsylvania, which hasn’t finished counting, victory in North Carolina, which hasn’t finished counting, and victory in Michigan, which has been given to Joe Biden and the Democrats.
“Why is he doing that?”
Reed replied: “Because we look at what happened last night. Before the Democrats decided to put a stop to actual vote counting, Trump had an amazing surge.
“They did the math and realised that if Trump were to win those states that he was going to surpass 270 [the number of electoral college votes needed to win the presidency], and the Democrats wouldn’t allow that, there’s no way.”
“What do you mean they stopped? They’re still counting the votes,” Maitlis challenged. “That’s the whole point – they’re still counting a lot of votes.”
Reed then doubled down on her claim, which mirrors a baseless theory shared among Republicans that Pennsylvania had stopped counting votes. This has since been been widely debunked, including by Philadelphia commissioner Al Schmidt, who tweeted: “Philadelphia will NOT stop counting ALL legitimate votes cast by eligible voters.
“And we will report and report and report until the last vote is counted.”
Faced with the Republican candidate’s insistence that election officials had stopped counting votes after they had seen a “surge” for Trump, Maitlis responded: “I don’t think I even understand what you’re saying. They’ve been counting the votes.”
Reed also said the voting had resumed, but maintained that any stop in voting had corrupted the election. Asked if she thought an alleged pause in the count “delegitimises the entire election”, Reed said mail-in voting as a whole had delegitimised the voting process.
Reed’s nonsensical argument also further exposed the divisions in reasoning between Republican campaigners, some of whom have protested at polling stations to chant “stop the vote” while others, like Reed, claim that stopping the count is the exact problem.
Viewers in the UK widely praised Maitlis for her stance during the interview, with one social media user writing that the clip “sums up our collective reaction to four years of unhinged nonsense from Trump cultists.”