Trump Falsely Claims ‘Millions Of People Who Voted Illegally’ Cost Him Popular Vote
WASHINGTON (CNN) — President-elect Donald Trump alleged Sunday, without evidence, that “millions of people” voted illegally for Hillary Clinton and otherwise he would have won the popular vote. It’s an unprecedented allegation by a president-elect.
Trump won the Electoral College and thus the White House, but the Democratic nominee leads him in the popular vote by about two million ballots.
“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,” Trump tweeted.
“It would have been much easier for me to win the so-called popular vote than the Electoral College in that I would only campaign in 3 or 4- states instead of the 15 states that I visited. I would have won even more easily and convincingly (but smaller states are forgotten)!” he added.
This is the first time he has alleged voter fraud in his own victory and there is no evidence of any widespread voter fraud.
Trump could be referencing a series of fake stories on conspiracy websites that said he actually beat Clinton in the popular vote count. Trump’s transition team did not return requests for comment Sunday afternoon.
He later added: “Serious voter fraud in Virginia, New Hampshire and California – so why isn’t the media reporting on this? Serious bias – big problem!”
Trump has been railing over the weekend against a recount effort led by the Green Party, that he has dubbed a “scam.” Green Party officials filed for a recount in Wisconsin on Friday after reports of possible voting discrepancies in areas that used paper ballots versus those where electronic voting took place.
Wisconsin Green Party co-chairman George Martin said the party is seeking a “reconciliation of paper records” — a request that could go further than a simple recount, possibly spurring an investigation into the integrity of Wisconsin’s voting system. “This is a process, a first step to examine whether our electoral democracy is working,” Martin said.
Both the Clinton campaign and the White House have said they see no evidence that any voting systems were hacked, although the Clinton campaign said Saturday it will take part in the recounts, joining with Stein, to ensure the recount is “fair to all sides.”
Earlier Sunday, Trump launched one of his trademark tweetstorms, reiterating his previous criticism of the recount effort, taking aim at Clinton.
“Hillary Clinton conceded the election when she called me just prior to the victory speech and after the results were in. Nothing will change,” he tweeted.
And then he quoted Clinton’s own concession statement, writing: ” ‘Trump is going to be our President. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead.’ So much time and money will be spent – same result! Sad.”
Trump on Electoral College
Trump has vacillated in his support for the Electoral College. In 2012, he tweeted: “The electoral college is a disaster for a democracy.”
Since his election, he’s been more laudatory.
“The Electoral College is actually genius in that it brings all states, including the smaller ones, into play. Campaigning is much different!” he tweeted about a week after Election Day.
Officials blast fraud claims
Election officials, leading Democrats — and even a prominent Republican — blasted President-elect Donald Trump after he spread allegations of voter fraud and targeted a trio of states with his false claim.
Trump first alleged Sunday that “millions” of undocumented immigrants voted against him and later directed the inaccurate charges at California, Virginia and New Hampshire. Neither Trump nor his transition team have responded to requests to explain what he meant or provide any evidence.
“Serious voter fraud in Virginia, New Hampshire and California – so why isn’t the media reporting on this? Serious bias – big problem!” Trump tweeted.
Tom Rath, the former attorney general of New Hampshire and a longtime kingmaker in the state’s Republican politics, knocked Trump Sunday evening.
“This will probably cost me my spot in the Cabinet but there was no fraud, serious or other, in this election in NH. There just wasn’t,” Rath tweeted.
And California Secretary of State Alex Padilla hit back at Trump, tweeting that his “unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud in California and elsewhere are absurd.”
California Rep. Adam Schiff, a Democrat, tweeted: “President-elect Trump’s claim that he would have won popular vote but for fraud is as baseless as it is demeaning. #ActLikeAPresident”
And former Maryland governor and Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley said Trump should focus instead on restoring the Voting Rights Act and ending voter suppression.
“Hey @realDonaldTrump – The real issues with voter fraud are discriminatory Voter ID laws and illegal vote suppression tactics #RestoreTheVRA,” O’Malley wrote.
It was still unclear Monday why Trump was alleging voter fraud in the election he won, while Green Party officials were seeking a recount based on questions of whether voter fraud helped him win.
Marc Elias, the Clinton campaign’s former counsel, pointed out the irony of Trump blasting alleged voter fraud but opposing any investigation of the election results.
“We are getting attacked for participating in a recount that we didn’t ask for by the man who won election but thinks there was massive fraud,” Elias tweeted Sunday night.
Rep. Chris Collins, a New York Republican who will be one of Trump’s key point men in Congress, said he did not know if there were “millions” of people who voted illegally, but said he would rather Trump and the Green Party both “move on” from the recount.
“He is the president-elect and it is time to move forward,” Collins said on CNN’s “New Day.” “It’s time to move on. And it’s time to end the discussion of recounts and, again, hopefully we can strengthen voter ID laws.”
Sen. James Lankford, an Oklahoma Republican, also said there may be evidence of some voter fraud, but nothing close to the “millions” of voters Trump is claiming.
“I have not seen anything in the millions, I don’t know what he was talking about,” Lankford told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota.