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For at least the fifth time since winning the presidency, President Donald Trump again revived claims that widespread voter fraud was rampant during the election he won.
Politico reported Friday that Trump insisted during a meeting with senators that “thousands” of people voted illegally in New Hampshire, declaring it the reason why former Sen. Kelly Ayotte didn’t win reelection in the state. She was present in the meeting to talk about Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, whose nomination effort she is spearheading in Congress.
During the meeting, Trump also revived a moniker for Sen. Elizabeth Warren that he used frequently on the campaign trail – “Pocahontas,” an insult aimed at a controversy involving her heritage.
Senior Deputy Secretary of State David M. Scanlan, head of the Election Division, told the Union Leader in November there was “no indication of anything that widespread taking place in New Hampshire.”
Experts and Republican lawmakers agree. Studies have found no evidence of voter fraud, particularly at the scale Trump has referenced. One study analyzed 1 billion ballots cast and found just 31 incidents of in-person voter fraud nationwide.
After Trump claimed that thousands were “brought in on buses” to “illegally” vote in New Hampshire, Politico reported, an awkward silence followed. A bipartisan group of 10 senators attended the meeting, which was billed by the White House as a “listening session” on the Supreme Court.
While Trump won the Electoral College handily with 304 votes to Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton’s 227, he trailed in the popular vote by nearly 3 million ballots. It’s this loss that Trump has been publicly irked about, as he claimed in November that he “won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.”
Two weeks ago, Trump said he would sign an executive order that would establish a commission to investigate voter fraud headed by Vice President Mike Pence. No such order has been signed, but several Republican senators have already come out against the idea.
Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called an investigation “totally irrelevant,” saying it was “time to move on.”
Spokespeople for Democratic senators present in the meeting did not immediately respond to requests for comment.