A bizarre anecdote reveals why Trump believes baseless claims of voter fraud cost him the popular vote

Donald trumpChip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesPresident Donald Trump.

President Donald Trump offered a bizarre anecdote to try to support false claims that he lost the national popular vote in the US election because of voter fraud.

The New York Times published the accounts of three White House staffers who told the newspaper that Trump, during a meeting with lawmakers on Monday, retold a story the president claimed was shared with him by champion golfer Bernhard Langer.

According to The Times, which said the three White House staffers were in the room when Trump told the story, Trump claimed that Langer was a supporter who tried to cast a ballot in Florida on Election Day. Trump, the newspaper reported, said Langer was told he could not vote, while two other people “who did not look as if they should be allowed to vote,” were able to cast provisional ballots.

As The Times describes it, Trump speculated that the two people who were allowed to vote looked like they may have come from Latin American countries.

The Times’ Glenn Thrush reported that a phone call with Langer’s daughter revealed that the anecdote Trump told was inaccurate. According to Langer’s daughter, the story was not about Langer, who is a German citizen and unable to vote in the US, but about a friend of the golfer.

“He is not a friend of President Trump’s,” the daughter said of her father according to The Times. “I don’t know why he would talk about him,” she added.

Trump was apparently using that anecdote to support his long-debunked claims of voter fraud, which he believes was perpetrated by people living in the US illegally. The claims have been widely condemned by congressional leaders from both parties, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Trump’s own attorneys have said there is no evidence of fraud in the November election.

The president has persisted in his belief that the millions of people who did not cast ballots for him must have voted illegally.

Trump asserted on Wednesday that he would order a voter-fraud investigation — the same day that he announced measures to begin work on a wall at the US-Mexico border, and limit funds to US cities that shelter people living in the US illegally.

NOW WATCH: Watch reporters grill the White House press secretary over Trump’s false claims that millions voted illegally

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