After Donald Trump made the false, unsubstantiated claim that “millions of people” voted illegally in the election – which he won! – his campaign is saying the exact opposite.
On Nov. 27, Trump tweeted, with no basis or evidence, that Hillary Clinton’s more-than-2-million lead in the popular vote was a result of voter fraud from “millions of people who voted illegally.”
The Washington Post reported that Reince Priebus, who will serve as Trump’s chief of staff, said this large scale voter fraud was “possible,” while House Speaker Paul Ryan said “I don’t know,” without rejecting the claim.
But in legal filings to block Green Party leader Jill Stein’s recount efforts, Trump’s lawyers said that the election was fair. “On what basis does Stein seek to disenfranchise Michigan citizens? None really, save for speculation,” they wrote in the Michigan filing, parts of which were published by the Post. “All available evidence suggests that the 2016 general election was not tainted by fraud or mistake.”
In Pennsylvania, they wrote: “On what basis does Stein seek to disenfranchise the voters of the Keystone state? None really. There is no evidence – or even any allegation – that any tampering with Pennsylvania’s voting systems actually occurred.”
Incredibly, Trump is simultaneously spreading two opposing narratives and benefiting from both regardless of what the facts say. And his words have a major impact: CNN recently interviewed a group of Trump voters who believed that 3 million people voted illegally in California and that President Barack Obama supports voter fraud. When they cited their sources, one said simply, “Google it, you can find it on Facebook.”
Fake news spreading on social media has become a major problem throughout the election but challenging misinformation becomes even harder when one of the sources for fake news is the president-elect himself.
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) 27 novembre 2016