President Donald Trump said in a interview with ABC News which aired Wednesday that he believes millions of illegal votes were cast in the 2016 election, but that not a single one was cast in his name.
During a surreal exchange, anchor David Muir grilled Trump over his continued spreading of the falsehood that millions of illegal ballots were cast in the 2016 election, which Trump had previously said was the reason for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton beating him in the popular vote by nearly 3 million ballots.
And Trump did not back away from his claim in the slightest.
“We’re gonna launch an investigation to find out,” Trump said, doubling-down on his Wednesday morning Twitter announcement. “And I will say this: Of those votes cast, none of ’em come to me. None of ’em come to me.”
“They would all be for the other side,” he continued. “None of ’em come to me.”
Trump insisted that “we have a lot to look into” regarding dead individuals, undocumented immigrants, and voters registered in multiple states being on voter rolls.
“You have people that are registered, who are dead, who are illegals who are in two states,” he said. “You have people registered in two states. They’re registered in a New York and a New Jersey. They vote twice. There are millions of votes, in my opinion. Now, I’m gonna do an investigation.”
Muir then engaged in a substantial back-and-forth, questioning Trump’s rationale and basis for pursuing such an investigation.
“You’re now president of the United States,” Muir said. “When you say it’s — .”
Trump cut in.
“Well of course, and I want the voting process to be legitimate,” he said.
“What I’m asking,” Muir responded. “When you say in your opinion, millions of illegal votes — that is something that is extremely fundamental to our functioning democracy, a fair and free election.”
“Sure,” Trump replied.
“You say you’re gonna launch an investigation,” Muir continued.
“Sure,” Trump repeated. “Done.”
Muir then said the basis of Trump’s false assertions had been “debunked” and was “false.”
“What you have presented so far has been debunked,” Muir said. “It’s been called false — .”
“Take a look at the Pew reports,” Trump insisted.
“I called the author of the Pew report last night and he told me that they found no evidence of voter fraud,” Muir asserted.
“Really?” Trump asked. “Then why did he write the report?”
“He said no evidence of voter fraud,” Muir repeated.
“Excuse me, then why did he write the report?” Trump asked rhetorically.
He continued: “According to Pew report, then he’s — then he’s groveling again. You know, I always talk about the reporters, they grovel when they wanna write something that you wanna hear, but not necessarily millions of people wanna hear or have to hear.”
The study that Trump was mentioning, which he frequently mentioned late during the campaign, said 24 million voter registrations were no longer valid or were significantly inaccurate, more than 1.8 million dead people were listed as voters, and about 2.8 million people were registered in more than one state. The report did not claim that those people voted illegally in an election, as it was written as an argument for modernising the US voting system.
Earlier Wednesday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer was confronted by a Fox News reporter during the daily press briefing about how Trump’s own lawyers who represented his campaign in Green Party nominee Jill Stein’s recount effort wrote in court filings that no evidence pointed to voter fraud existing in the election.
“Attorneys who were representing the president-elect during the recounts in several states emphatically stated ‘all available evidence suggests that the 2016 general election was not tainted by fraud or mistake,’ so how do you square those two things?” Fox News White House correspondent John Roberts, asked.
Spicer suggested the lawyers’ statement wasn’t referring to “states we didn’t compete in.”
“Well, I think there were a lot of states we didn’t compete in where that is not necessarily the case,” he said. “You look at California and New York, I’m not sure that those statements were — we didn’t look at those two states in particular.”
Spicer said the investigation would look into “bigger states,” adding that details would be released later this week.
Trump secured the presidency in the November 8 election with 306 electoral votes to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s 232. Clinton, however, won the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes.
In late November, Trump first made the baseless claim that “millions” had voted illegally in the election and had swung the popular vote in Clinton’s favour. He also claimed without evidence that “serious voter fraud” occurred in Virginia, New Hampshire, and California — all states that he lost. The secretaries of state in each of those three states strongly rebuked Trump’s assertion and said no such fraud took place.
Trump’s false assertions were brought back to the forefront this week when he made a similar claim during a meeting on Monday evening with congressional leaders, much to the dismay of several Republicans. Trump’s claims that voter fraud affected the election have repeatedly been shot down by fact-checkers and voting officials.
Watch the ABC clip below:
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