BREAKING: White House says Trump believes debunked claim that millions of votes were cast illegally in 2016 election https://t.co/5SZKn26lnZ pic.twitter.com/v0OfVmo8bE
— CNN (@CNN) January 24, 2017
During a press briefing on Tuesday, White House Press Secretary backed up President Trump’s (repeated) false claims that millions of people voted illegally in the presidential election. Spicer did not provide any evidence at all but merely said they have “studies” to back up the claim. It appears to be a case of Stephen Colber’s “truthiness” occurring in real life.
Despite winning the election and celebrating with a huge weekend, Trump still isn’t satisfied. He has labored the point home that his inauguration was the biggest in history (which has been debunked) and has claimed that he would have won the popular vote if it weren’t for those pesky illegal votes. He’s clinging to the idea that there were about 3-5 million illegal votes cast in the election, a point he has not proven (because it isn’t true) since last November:
There has been no substantiated evidence to show there was voter fraud of this caliber, with the Brennan Center for Justice releasing a report stating there was a 0.00004 to 0.0009 percent chance of occurring. This hasn’t stopped Trump from clinging to this idea, and he’s getting his staff to go along with it. Spicer was first up, telling the White House press corps it’s something he believes, based on “studies”:
“The President does believe that, I think he’s stated that before, and stated his concern of voter fraud and people voting illegally during the campaign and continues to maintain that belief based on studies and evidence people have brought to him.”
But when pressed to reveal what studies or evidence they have to back it up, Spicer stuck to his guns and reiterated his point about the alleged studies. Although he did not say it outright, he may be referring to a 2008 Pew Study, where it said 14 percent of voters were non-citizens, which was then debunked in 2014, as reported by BuzzFeed.
Reporters at the briefing pressed forward, and when some asked if Trump’s team would investigate alleged fraud of this magnitude, Spicer said maybe it would happen.
Trump was called out by both sides of the aisle for this claim, including Republican Senator Lindsey Graham who said, “I wasn’t there, but if the President of the United States is claiming that 3.5 million people voted illegally, that shakes confidence in our democracy — he needs to disclose why he believes that.” And Senator Bernie Sanders also got into the mix as well, saying the claim gives the GOP the right to condone voter suppression.
.@BernieSanders on Trump’s unsubstantiated voter fraud claims: “He is sending a message” to GOP “to go forward with voter suppression.” pic.twitter.com/MWo2XwCWQ2
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) January 24, 2017
Spicer, who seems rather uncomfortable in his position, has backed up many of his new boss’ fact-checked claims. It could start a precedent where these “alternative facts” could become the new normal.