Philadelphia’s district attorney on Wednesday threatened President Donald Trump if he sent “uncertified” poll watchers to the city, telling him in a statement, “I’ve got something for you” if any attempts are made to interfere with Election Day activities.
In a fiery statement posted on his website, District Attorney Larry Krasner likened Trump to a “lawless, power-hungry despot,” and vowed that Philadelphians “will not be cowed.”
The statement followed Trump's response to a night of looting in Philadelphia over the police shooting of a Black man, who police claimed was charging at them with a knife. President Trump called the shooting a "terrible event," but turned the attention on his Democratic rival, Joe Biden, whom he accused of supporting the looters and rioters.
Krasner said that Trump’s administration supposedly poses “the greatest danger to public health and safety in modern history.” As proof, he pointed to the more than 227,000 Americans who have died from COVID-19.
His statement comes less than a week before the November election, for which Pennsylvania has become a hotly contested presidential battleground state.
The Trump campaign said late last month it was preparing a lawsuit against the Office of the Philadelphia City Commissioners over their alleged refusal to admit poll watchers into satellite officers to observe the voting process.
“To the extent that your office prohibits the campaign from monitoring the casting of ballots, the campaign will seek court intervention,” a letter from an attorney representing the campaign read.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said he would not let the president “interfere” with the “will of the people,” while characterizing the president as a “bad actor.”
“It will be respected whether Donald Trump wins Pennsylvania or Joe Biden wins Pennsylvania,” Shapiro said of the state's election results. “We need to drown out the president’s rhetoric and ignore the doubt that he is trying to sow about this election and make a plan to vote today, whether you choose to vote by mail, you choose to vote at an election satellite center early, or whether you choose to vote on Election Day.”
In his statement, Krasner said that his office is continuing to work with its partners "in law enforcement and government to ensure every voter gets to vote and that every vote is counted,” Krasner said. “Keep your Proud Boys, goon squads, and uncertified ‘poll watchers’ out of our city, Mr. President. Break the law here, and I’ve got something for you.”
Krasner's ambiguous threat comes as the city is still reeling from a night of violent protests, in which demonstrators clashed with authorities over the police shooting of a 27-year-old Black man a day earlier. Police said the man – identified as Walter Wallace Jr. – refused to drop his knife as he “advanced towards” them.
Krasner alleged that Trump, rather than “working with cities and states to improve accountability and efficacy in policing,” is seeking instead to “throw gasoline on a long-burning fire in order to provoke further unrest and violence ahead of an election he is terrified to lose.”
Fox News’ Brittany De Lea contributed to this report.