Voting booths await voters in Red Oak, Iowa, Tuesday, June 3, 2014, ahead of the Iowa primary elections.
Nati Harnik/AP

Trump’s voter-fraud nonsense takes a ridiculous turn

It’s been quite a ride for Donald Trump’s bizarre voter-fraud claims. Three weeks after winning the presidential election, the Republican said he secretly won the popular vote he lost, because of illegally cast ballots that exist only in his imagination. This week, the president repeated the claim, pointing to a second-hand anecdote from a German golfer he knows about people “who did not look as if they should be allowed to vote.”

Trump has cited a report he didn’t read and blasted its author. The White House said it wasn’t calling for an investigation and then the president said the opposite. Trump was supposed to issue some kind of executive directive yesterday on initiating a probe into a problem that doesn’t exist, only to reverse course without explanation.

It’s worth pausing from time to time to appreciate the fact that the new president of the United States isn’t just lying about details he doesn’t understand; he’s also attacking American democracy and the electoral system that put him in office.

This morning, the president made the whole mess even more farcical with another tweet.
“Look forward to seeing final results of VoteStand. Gregg Phillips and crew say at least 3,000,000 votes were illegal. We must do better!”
Who’s Gregg Phillips and what’s VoteStand? I’m glad you asked.

As Right Wing Watch explained, “Phillips is a longtime conservative activist who, according to his LinkedIn profile, has worked for the Mississippi and Alabama Republican parties and a pro-Newt Gingrich Super PAC, and currently sits on the board of directors of True the Vote, a group ostensibly created to root out the massive voter fraud that it has been so far unable to find. On his Twitter profile, Phillips says he is the founder of VoteStand, an app for reporting suspected voter fraud that True the Vote promoted heavily before this month’s election, despite its previous failure to uncover any evidence of widespread fraud.”

When the president of the United States says he’s looking forward to seeing the “final results” from VoteStand, Trump is effectively saying he’s inclined to ignore the actual evidence – and Secretaries of State nationwide – and instead listen to a Republican activist with an app with an unclear purpose.

For his part, Gregg Phillips claimed five days after Election Day that he’d “verified” that 3 million illegal votes were cast – a claim that’s popular with strange conspiracy websites such as Info Wars – but Philips has offered no evidence, no one has seen his data or purported algorithm, and he’s refused to provide any information to anyone about his methodology.

The president of the United States, however, seems very impressed that this GOP activist alleges that “at least 3,000,000 votes were illegal.” Trump could accept reality, but he finds it far more satisfying to listen to some guy he doesn’t know making bizarre and unsubstantiated claims.

As for what led the president to publish this specific message this morning, Trump apparently saw a television segment that got him all excited. This keeps happening.