On Tuesday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer double downed on claims made by Donald Trump this week that millions voted illegally in the 2016 presidential election, confirming that the president believes this to be true based on “studies and evidence.”
But Spicer — who has come under fire only one week into Trump’s term for falsely telling journalists that the president’s inauguration was the most attended in history — refused to provide any concrete evidence to support his boss’ falsehood.
“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,” Spicer said.
While we’re not sure who presented Trump with these “studies and evidence,” we do know that the narrative long held by Trump’s administration has already been debunked.
The Truth About Voter Fraud, a report written by experts at The Brennan Center for Justice, found voter fraud rates were between 0.00004% and 0.0009%.
“Given this tiny incident rate for voter impersonation fraud, it is more likely, the report noted, that an American will be struck by lightning than that he will impersonate another voter at the polls,” reads the report.
It seems winning the election would ease some of the reality-star-turned-president’s insecurities about legitimacy and numbers, but losing the popular vote by 3 million votes to Hillary Clinton only fueled his desire to be first, even if that meant distributing false information to American citizens about their democratic process.
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Back in November, Trump tweeted about losing the popular vote to Clinton, just days after he won the polarizing presidential election:
In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 27, 2016
He did it again during a Monday evening reception at the White House this week, claiming that 3 to 5 million immigrants voted illegally.
Journalists at the White House were quick to inquire about the false statement, with a number asking about an investigation to what, if it were true, would be the largest voting scandal in American history.
Pressed about issuing an investigation, Spicer said “maybe we will,” adding that the president’s first priority was securing jobs for the American people.