A senior Hillary Clinton campaign aide condemned Democratic electors who defected from the former secretary of state in a last ditch effort to stop Donald Trump from gaining the White House.
Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon called the failed plan a "coup attempt," Politico reported.
At least seven electors, including five Democrats and two Republicans, cast "faithless" votes in the Electoral College on Monday, marking a record-high in any presidential election. Democratic electors had planned to toss their votes to an alternative Republican candidate in an attempt to coalesce GOP electors to desert Trump.
In Washington state, four Democratic electors rejected Clinton. Three voted for Colin Powell, a Republican African-American and former secretary of state, while the fourth cast his vote for a Native American environmental activist named Faith Spotted Eagle. The fifth vote against Clinton came from a Hawaiian elector who voted for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.).
"These Democratic electors' hearts were in the right place in trying to oppose Donald Trump all the way until the end, but their plan for mounting some kind of coup through the Electoral College was never serious," Fallon said.
"Their idea seems to have amounted to wanting Hillary Clinton to publicly surrender her electors in the hope that doing so would entice defections from 37 theoretical Republicans who were never identified—presumably because they never existed. This was just a recipe for subtracting more from Hillary Clinton's electoral vote count than Donald Trump's, and sure enough that is exactly what happened," he continued.
Three other Democratic electors–one each in Maine, Minnesota, and Colorado–tried to vote against Clinton but were replaced by state election officials for "faithless" votes.
Despite predictions that dozens of Republican electors would defect from Trump, only two did so. Texas elector Christ Suprun voted for Ohio Gov. John Kasich while another voted for former libertarian presidential candidate Ron Paul.
Clinton's electoral defeat despite her lead in the popular vote has prompted Democrats to renew calls to abolish the Electoral College.
The New York Times, which endorsed Clinton in the general election, published an editorial Monday advocating for the end of the "antiquated mechanism." The publication argued the president should instead be chosen by direct popular vote.
"Yes, Mr. Trump won under the rules, but the rules should change so that a presidential election reflects the will of Americans and promotes a more participatory democracy," the Times wrote.
Trump's win over Clinton marked the second time in 16 years that a candidate won the presidential election but lost the popular vote.