His comments over the weekend signal the extent to which some members of the European far-right have embraced the rhetoric of angered Trump supporters. Trump has not yet conceded to Biden and is preparing to launch several court battles over the election results. Over the weekend, Trump supporters took to the streets in major U.S. cities, chanting “stop the steal” — a rallying cry behind unfounded assertions that widespread election fraud led to Biden winning enough electoral college votes to be deemed the legitimate winner.
Helme, a key member of the populist Estonian Conservative People’s Party (EKRE), reportedly also said that Biden and his son Hunter are “corrupt characters” and that Trump “will win eventually. It will happen as a result of an immense struggle, maybe even bloodshed but justice will win in the end.”
He also described a dream in which he saw Trump walking through a field of “guts and entrails,” Estonia’s public broadcaster reported.
Helme’s son, Martin, who leads the EKRE and serves as finance minister, was also interviewed on the program. He claimed that “there is no question that these elections were falsified,” the Associated Press reported, citing Estonian media.
“I believe all normal people should speak up against it,” he said. “There is no point in talking about democracy or rule of law in a situation where elections can be faked so plainly, boldly and on a massive scale.”
The elder Helme announced Monday that he decided to resign after seeing “the slander and lies produced by the Estonian media.”
He told the country’s public broadcaster that he is “tired.”
“I did nothing yesterday that would endanger Estonia’s security,” he said. “I have not said anything that has not already been told by the American media, the American free media.”
The younger Helme remains in his post.
Top Estonian politicians condemned the comments, with President Kersti Kaljulaid saying she was “sad and embarrassed.”
In a statement Sunday, Estonian Prime Minister Juri Ratas defended the transparency of the U.S. election process and called on the father and son to “immediately stop undermining Estonian-U.S. relations.”
“Crude criticism of these processes based on spurious information and fake news is not appropriate for ministers of the Republic of Estonia,” he said.
Ratas described the United States as “an important ally, and indispensable strategic partner, both for Estonia and the European Union” and said a strong relationship between the two countries is key for strategic defense.
“Aggressive rhetoric directed against one of our most important allies is therefore extremely irresponsible,” he said.
Estonian Defense Minister Juri Luik also condemned the comments, saying they “threaten to deteriorate U.S.-Estonian relations” and “are dangerous to the security of all of us, including that of their own supporters.”
Trump has taken an ambivalent approach to NATO, which Estonia relies on as a bulwark against neighboring Russia.
“We are a country of 1 million people on the border of Russia,” Luik said in a statement. “Taking into account the Estonian geopolitical situation, our relationship with the U.S. is of existential importance.”
In Germany, Beatrix von Storch, a deputy leader with the Alternative for Germany party, also echoed Trump’s accusations of voter fraud. “I share the view that there are discernible irregularities,” she said in an interview with German public radio Thursday. “It’s stunning when all of a sudden 100 percent of all late-counted mail-in ballots are for Biden and zero for Trump.”
On Saturday, von Storch tweeted that “it is far from certain who has won … And that is a good thing: a democratic constitutional state would be well advised to dispel accusations of massive indications of voter fraud.”
Rick Noack in Berlin contributed to this report.