White House Press Secretary Defends Trump’s Bogus Allegations of Voter Fraud

Sean Spicer sows more misinformation about the voter fraud myth.

Susan Walsh/AP

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White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Tuesday defended President Donald Trump’s false assertion that millions of people voted illegally in the November elections. Spicer repeatedly affirmed that Trump has long held this view, but he could not cite any credible evidence for the belief. Instead, he named a study that does not back up the president’s claims.

“The president does believe that,” Spicer said in response to a question about illegal voting. “I think he’s stated his concerns of voter fraud and people voting illegally during the campaign. And he continues to maintain that belief based on studies and evidence that people have presented to him.”

Asked for specific evidence, Spicer replied, “I think the president has believed that for a while based on studies and information he has.”

This response spurred more questions from reporters throughout the briefing. NPR’s Mara Liasson grilled Spicer on whether Trump will pursue an investigation. “If 3 to 5 million people voted illegally, that is a scandal of astronomical proportions,” she said. “I’m asking you, why not investigate something that is the biggest scandal in American electoral history?” Other reporters asked similar follow-up questions, but Spicer said there are currently no plans for an investigation.

Spicer did cite as evidence a 2008 Pew Research Center report that he said supported Trump’s claim. But it quickly became clear that this was false.

Members of the media also quickly impugned Spicer’s honesty over the exchange.

Spicer’s integrity was already on the line after he gave a series of false statements on Saturday regarding the size of the audience at Trump’s inauguration and then defended those statements in his first full press conference on Monday.

After the election, Trump tweeted that he would have won the popular vote “if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.” On Monday, in a meeting with congressional leaders from both parties, Trump reportedly spent the first 10 minutes claiming again that 3 to 5 million “illegals” had voted. But on Tuesday, Spicer assured the press that Trump is “very comfortable with his win.” Trump, Spicer continued, received the most electoral votes of any Republican president since Ronald Reagan. Again, that’s not right: George H. W. Bush got more in 1988.

 

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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