At his campaign rally in Georgia over the weekend, Donald Trump acknowledged the reports that he lacks any evidence of actual fraud in the 2020 elections. The outgoing president, however, insisted his detractors are wrong.
"We have so much evidence," the Republican claimed, adding, "They say, 'Oh, he doesn't have the evidence.' We have so much evidence, we don't know what to do with it."
Trump pushed a related message via Twitter yesterday morning, insisting there's "massive evidence of widespread fraud" in the states targeted by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's lawsuit.
But a funny thing happened a few hours later. After publishing a tweet in the morning about the "massive evidence of widespread fraud," the president and his controversial lawyer released a court filing making largely the opposite point:
"Despite the chaos of election night and the days which followed, the media has consistently proclaimed that no widespread voter fraud has been proven. But this observation misses the point. The constitutional issue is not whether voters committed fraud but whether state officials violated the law by systematically loosening the measures for ballot integrity so that fraud becomes undetectable."
Oh. So the initial claim was Team Trump has evidence of fraud, but the new claim is that the evidence is "undetectable," which is why no one can see it.
Let's back up for a moment. Let's say I told you that Bigfoot is real. To be sure, Bigfoot is not real, but for the sake of conversation, let's say I was trying to convince you otherwise.
You'd naturally ask for some kind of evidence. Initially, I'd respond by saying I have so much evidence of Bigfoot's existence that I hardly know what to do with all of it. But once the conversation progresses, I'd switch gears and say, "You know, asking for evidence misses the point. Bigfoot covers his tracks, making his existence undetectable, which I believe is itself proof that Bigfoot is real."
At this point, you'd probably stop listening to my argument about Bigfoot, which would be the appropriate response.
And yet, this is the point at which we've arrived with Donald Trump and his claims about voter fraud.
As a Washington Post analysis added this morning, "It's not the first time the Trump team has watered down its claims of fraud when actually faced with vouching for them in legal proceedings.... But it's certainly telling that it's now proactively dispatching with that question and shifting its legal argument in a completely different direction. If this was truly what happened, after all, why spend weeks talking about evidence of fraud rather than that? The reason: It wanted to prove fraud, but it couldn't. So now it's doing this other thing."