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President Donald Trump offered a bizarre anecdote to try to support false claims that he lost the national popular vote in the US election because of voter fraud.
The New York Times on Wednesday published the accounts of three White House staffers who told the newspaper that Trump, during a meeting with lawmakers on Monday, retold a story the president claimed was shared with him by German champion golfer Bernhard Langer.
According to The Times, which said the three White House staffers were in the room when Trump told the story, Trump claimed that Langer was a supporter who tried to cast a ballot in Florida on Election Day. Trump, the newspaper reported, said Langer was told he could not vote, while two other people “who did not look as if they should be allowed to vote,” were able to cast provisional ballots.
As The Times describes it, Trump speculated that the two people who were allowed to vote looked as if they may have come from Latin American countries.
The Times’ Glenn Thrush reported that a phone call with Langer’s daughter indicated that Trump’s anecdote was inaccurate. Langer’s daughter reportedly said the story was not about Langer, who is a German citizen and unable to vote in the US, but about a friend of the golfer.
“He is not a friend of President Trump’s,” the daughter said of her father, according to The Times. “I don’t know why he would talk about him,” she added.
- AP Photo/Susan Walsh
Trump was apparently using that anecdote to support his long-debunked claims that votes were cast by millions of people living in the US illegally. The claims have been widely condemned by congressional leaders from both parties, including House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Trump’s own attorneys have said there was no evidence of fraud in the November election.
Trump on Wednesday said he would order a voter-fraud investigation. On the same day he also announced measures to begin work on a wall at the US-Mexico border and to limit funds to US cities that shelter people living in the US illegally.
The president also moved to prevent immigrants from Muslim-majority Middle Eastern and African countries like Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Iran, Libya, and Yemen from the entering the US. Those moves sparked large protests on Wednesday night.