Donald Trump’s delusional voter fraud claims (Updated)

It may be time for constitutional law attorneys and members of Congress to start brushing up on the Twenty-Fifth Amendment, Section 4, regarding a president “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”

We clearly have elected someone who is delusional, if not insane. The sorest winner of all time cannot stop whining:

Somebody call the waaahmbulance. Donald Trump needs a box of Kleenex for all the whining he’s doing.

Just like his campaign, the first days of his presidency have been animated and defined by grievance.

At a White House reception last night to discuss his 2017 agenda, Trump devoted the first 10 minutes to rehashing the 2016 campaign. The commander-in-chief told a bipartisan group of congressional leaders that between 3 million and 5 million illegal votes caused him to lose the popular vote.

That is a ludicrously false claim, and this is not hyperbole: Trump is the sorest winner in American history.

UPDATE: If there were millions of illegal votes cast, it would be safe to assume that some of those illegal votes went to the yuuugely popular Donald Trump. Not according to “The Donald.” Donald Trump claims none of those 3 to 5 million illegal votes were cast for him. Zero. This is a statistical impossibility.

The New York Times has rarely ever used the word “lie” in a headline, but that it did. Trump Repeats Lie About Popular Vote in Meeting With Lawmakers:

President Trump used his first official meeting with congressional leaders on Monday to falsely claim that millions of unauthorized immigrants had robbed him of a popular vote majority, a return to his obsession with the election’s results even as he seeks support for his legislative agenda.

* * *

 Trump appears to remain concerned that the public will view his victory — and his entire presidency — as illegitimate if he does not repeatedly challenge the idea that Americans were deeply divided about sending him to the White House to succeed President Barack Obama.

As Dan Balz of the Washington Post points out, it is Trump who is undermining his legitimacy by undermining confidence in the electoral process. Trump’s voter fraud claims undermine the democratic process and his presidency:

There is no benign explanation for President Trump’s false assertion that millions of people voted illegally in the last election. It is either a deliberate attempt to undermine faith in the democratic process, an exhortation to those who favor new restrictions on access to the ballot box or the worrisome trait of someone with immense power willing to make wild statements without any credible evidence.

By repeating as president what he had said as a candidate, for whatever purpose, Trump is now striking at the foundation of a democratic society. This is yet another example of Trump being willing to cast doubt on information, individuals or institutions that he believes threaten his legitimacy, challenge his authority or question his actions, from attacks on “phony polls” or the “dishonest media” to assertions now of vast voter fraud.

Trump then sent his press secretary, “Baghdad Sean” Spicer, out to defend his delusions. Press Secretary Affirms that Trump Believes Lie of Millions of Illegal Voters:

Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, confirmed on Tuesday that President Trump has long believed that millions of undocumented immigrants voted illegally in the 2016 election, furthering a false claim from the podium of the West Wing briefing room and refusing to rule out an investigation down the road.

“He said 3 to 5 million people could have voted illegally, based on the studies that he’s seen,” Mr. Spicer told stunned reporters, acknowledging a statement that Mr. Trump made privately in a meeting with congressional leaders on Monday afternoon.

And what studies, pray tell, has Trump seen? Ah, the conspiracy-mongering Alex Jones at the alt-right web site Infowars:

A November 2016 blog post on Infowars, the conspiracy theory-focused website run by radio host Alex Jones, posited the idea that roughly 3 million people voted illegally. Mr. Jones has hosted Mr. Trump on his radio show in the past.

The assertion was based on tweets from a self-proclaimed voter expert, who claimed to have a study. However, there’s no evidence of the study. And officials in swing states where Mr. Trump secured victory, many of which are governed by Republicans, say that there is no evidence of such fraud.

Mr. Spicer also made vague reference to another Pew Research Center study that supposedly backed up Mr. Trump, but the author of the study in question, David Becker, now executive director of the Center for Election Innovation and Research, tweeted again that no such fraud happened.

[Washington Post fact checker Michelle Ye Hee Lee posted a piece Tuesday taking apart Spicer’s assertion. There are no studies that show what Spicer claims.]

[UPDATE: Washington Post fact checker Michelle Ye Hee Lee follows up, Trump’s absurd claim the 2012 Pew report researcher was ‘groveling’: “Yet again, we award Trump Four Pinocchios for his claim.”]

When a reporter pointed out to Mr. Spicer that such widespread fraud would be one of the biggest scandals in American electoral history and asked why the administration isn’t investigating, the press secretary said, “Maybe we will.”

Trump doubled-down on his delusional grievances today. Trump seeks ‘major investigation’ into unsupported claims of voter fraud:

President Trump plans to ask for a “major investigation” into allegations of widespread voter fraud as he continues to claim, without providing evidence, that he lost the popular vote in November’s election because millions of illegal votes were cast, according to tweets posted Wednesday.

The White House has yet to provide details, but Trump said in back-to-back tweets that the investigation into “VOTER FRAUD” — Trump used all capitals for emphasis — would cover “those registered to vote in two states, those who are illegal” and “those registered to vote who are dead (and many for a long time).”

“Depending on results,” Trump tweeted, “we will strengthen up voting procedures!”

Trump did not indicate who would lead such an investigation or what ground it would cover. A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment on whether it would now launch an investigation.

As you might imagine, the secretaries of state of the several states — most of whom are Republican — are not at all happy with Trump suggesting that they are not carrying out their official duties. While Trump promises voter fraud probe, election officials say they don’t know ‘of any evidence’ backing his claims:

On Tuesday afternoon, the group representing many of the country’s chief state election officials — otherwise known as the people who actually oversee elections in each state — said they did not know of “any evidence” backing up Trump’s claims. The group also said that if the Trump White House had concerns, they were willing to hear from them.

“We are not aware of any evidence that supports the voter fraud claims made by President Trump, but we are open to learning more about the administration’s concerns,” the National Association of Secretaries of State said in a statement.

* * *

After Trump’s tweet Wednesday morning calling for a voter fraud investigation, Jon Husted, Ohio’s Secretary of State and a Republican, replied by saying that officials already had a review underway in his state. “Easy to vote, hard to cheat,” he added.

Here is a smattering of the fact checks from just the past couple of days alone debunking Trump’s delusional claims:

Trump Won’t Back Down From His Voting Fraud Lie. Here Are the Facts. (New York Times)

Trump wants to investigate purported mass voter fraud. We pre-debunked his evidence (The Monkey Cage at The Washington Post)

Recidivism Watch: Trump’s claim that millions of people voted illegally (Fact Checker at The Washington Post)

Here are nine investigations on voter fraud that found virtually nothing (Wonkblog at The Washington Post)

Greg Sargent at The Washington Post makes the salient point: Sean Spicer just said Trump believes millions voted illegally. Here’s the problem: No one can tell him otherwise.

Can anyone talk Trump into accepting reality? Is anyone seriously trying?

It is bad enough that Trump repeated the lie about millions voting illegally in private. But now the White House has declined to correct the record when given the chance to do so publicly. The White House, of course, is stuck in the position of asserting that Trump really believes this, because, well, he said it, and copping to a knowing lie on Trump’s part would lead to more criticism. But the end result is that the White House is allowing the underlying false claim to stand.

To paraphrase the line from Apollo 13: “America, we have a problem.” The always insecure egomaniacal Twitter-Troll-in-Chief is delusional, if not insane. He is emotionally, and quite probably, mentally “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”

How long can this go on before our political leaders are forced to consider invoking the Twenty-Fifth Amendment?

UPDATE: Glenn Thrush reports on Trump’s Voter Fraud Example? A Troubled Tale With Bernhard Langer:

The witnesses described the story this way: Mr. Langer, a 59-year-old native of Bavaria, Germany — a winner of the Masters twice and of more than 100 events on major professional golf tours around the world — was standing in line at a polling place near his home in Florida on Election Day, the president explained, when an official informed Mr. Langer he would not be able to vote.

Ahead of and behind Mr. Langer were voters who did not look as if they should be allowed to vote, Mr. Trump said, according to the staff members — but they were nonetheless permitted to cast provisional ballots. The president threw out the names of Latin American countries that the voters might have come from.

Mr. Langer, whom he described as a supporter, left feeling frustrated, according to a version of events later contradicted by a White House official.

Just one problem: Mr. Langer, who lives in Boca Raton, Fla., is a German citizen with permanent residence status in the United States who is, by law, barred from voting, according to Mr. Langer’s daughter Christina.

“He is a citizen of Germany,” she said, when reached on her father’s cellphone. “He is not a friend of President Trump’s, and I don’t know why he would talk about him.”

Wow. As Steve Benen comments, “Why is this the perfect Donald Trump story? Because it checks so many boxes: Trump got to brag about knowing a celebrity, who shared a bizarre and racially charged anecdote, which the president believed because he lacks anything resembling critical-thinking skills, which then led the president to concoct a broader conspiracy theory about immigrants, which in turn helped soothe Trump’s bruised and unhealthy ego.”

The Washington Post’s conservative blogger Jennifer Rubin suggests, Maybe Trump isn’t ‘lying’, “there is a difference between distorting reality and being delusional”:

The supposition among pundits, elected officials and political insiders is that Trump, like his argument over the inaugural crowd size, “lies” to make himself feel better. His staff salutes, repeats his lies and then gets bashed. What if, however, he thoroughly, “honestly” believes his crazy, unsubstantiated claims? When he denies saying something, what if he honestly does not, cannot recall statements that now come back to haunt him?

* * *

Putting aside the psychiatric lingo, Sen. Ted Cruz’s essential point — Trump cannot tell what is real and what is not — surely looks right on point less than a week into the presidency.

* * *

We are not calling — yet — for invocation of Section 4 of the 25th Amendment. (“Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.”)

We are calling for someone, perhaps his children, to see if they can prevail upon him to stop behaving in this way, for if not, legitimate worries will mount about whether he is able to carry out his duties. We also are saying that Republicans need to be pressed to state their view: Is he lying or is he unable to separate what he wants to believe and what exists, literally, in front of his eyes? The first makes him morally unfit, and was the basis upon which many #NeverTrumpers refused to vote for him. If the latter, they — and we all — have a constitutional crisis the likes of which we have never seen. With Trump, however, we have learned the past provides no guarantees.

Heather Digby Parton writes at Salon, Don’t look now: It’s President Pence! Donald Trump can be deposed, even without impeachment:

When the president was reported to have told congressional leaders on Monday that he still believed 3 million to 5 million illegal votes had been cast in the election, causing him to lose the popular vote to Hillary Clinton, it became clear that Trump’s erratic behavior was not stopping. Leaks have been pouring out from inside the nascent administration, giving a picture of an insecure, irrational man who is obsessed with his image and little else. [See, In his first major TV interview as president, Trump is endlessly obsessed with his popularity.]

According to an article in The Washington Post, Trump’s inner circle is overwhelmed by power struggles and internecine battles while the president fulminates over every criticism. The New York Times has reported that his staff is concerned about his “simmering resentment” at what he thinks is unfair press coverage. Politico has reported that aides are trying to minimize his incessant TV viewing, and according to a report by Axios, Trump is running his administration almost entirely in reaction to what he sees in the media. [See also The Washington Post and The New York Times.] He sounds as if he is unable to handle the stress and is using avoidance mechanisms.

So what happens if President Trump cannot pull himself together and continues to psychologically unravel? There is a remedy other than impeachment. Even conservatives like David Frum have been talking about it for a while:

Screen Shot 2017-01-26 at 8.12.33 AM

The 25th Amendment was added to the Constitution after the assassination of John F. Kennedy and provides for the replacement of the vice president if the office becomes vacant. (So it led indirectly to the presidency of Gerald Ford, the only American president who was never elected to any national office.) But Section 4 is about something else entirely:

Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.

It’s obvious that Trump has a narcissistic personality, which in itself is not disqualifying. He’s not the first president to have one; nor will he be the last. But his issues seem to run deeper than that. Some observers have suggested that he shows the characteristics of classic psychopathy. And there are plenty of people who see his behavior as blatantly self-destructive.

Of course it’s an extreme long shot that members of Trump’s Cabinet or the Republican leadership in Congress would ever take such a drastic step. (Although it’s not at all hard to imagine that in their hearts many of them would prefer President Mike Pence.) This would only happen if Trump really started to behave in a unhinged fashion. After all the bizarre behavior he has exhibited over the past 18 months, one cannot help but wonder: What could possibly count as going too far? It’s almost too terrifying to imagine.

30 responses to “Donald Trump’s delusional voter fraud claims (Updated)

  1. The irony of many of the comments here is that they’re made to a post about delusion. It’s as if the subconscious was the driving force behind them.

  2. North Of The River

    TRUTH is out via PHX Craigslist:
    As a kid,remember TV show called “My Favorite Martian”,so since the ’60’s the Martians have been living & voting since:

    http://phoenix.craigslist.org/cph/pol/5975285804.html
    Martian Voter Fraud (Phoenix)
    TRUMP CALLS FOR INVESTIGATION INTO MARTIAN VOTER FRAUD

    WASHINGTON D.C. — Donald Trump today called for a thorough investigation into millions of Martians who landed on Earth last November and illegally voted in the election.

    Explaining that only massive Martian voter fraud could explain why more Americans actually voted against him than for him, and why he lost the popular vote by almost 3 million.

    Citing zero actual evidence, Trump explained that “I’m very smart” and “I hear things – lots of things – and, you know, people are talking about this. I’m not saying who, but I hear people talking about this.”

    Trump had no explanation for how Martians could possibly have voted without showing proof of citizenship, or why *none* of the 50 state attorneys general (28 of whom are Republicans) have reported any evidence whatsoever of

  3. the only person prosecuted for in person voter fraud was a republican woman who voted for mitt romney twice in arizona and utah. on many occasions I have said we need an initiative on the ballot to make it a crime to prevent a citizen entitled to vote from voting in arizona. the democrats don’t seem to care about stopping real voter suppression.

  4. Secretary of State Michele Reagan blaten denial of voter fraud in Arizona without verifiable information of same is an attemopt to CYA.

    • If 3-5 million voted illegally as Trump asserts, it would not just be AZ Secretary of State Michele Reagan, it would be all 50 Secretaries of State across the nation — and a massive number of county recorders and other election officials. Spend a lot of time on conspiracy theory web sites do you?

  5. I know from personal experience that there are multiple voter registrations for the same person. I was verifying petition signatures and had the same address, birthdate, place of birth with 3 different variations of the same name. When I bought to the attention of the employee at the SOS office was told to leave it. I spent a few hours for a couple of days volunteering at Maricopa County Elections department verifying signatures on petitions to recall Senator Russell Pearce. The abnormalities were many, an average of from a few to several on a page, were not registered, had same birthdates, missing state of birth, many with Spanish last times. Same first names and last name with a de’ or La between first and last name, a born the same year. Example; Not real names to my knowledge, Rosa Pena, Born -1968, Rosa de Pena, Born- 1968, Rosa La Pena, -Born 1968. See Story: Pearce recall petitions indicate massive voter registration fraud. . be http://www.americanfreedombybarbara.com/2011/06/voter-fraudor-voter-vault-needs.html#links

    • So you are a blogger attempting to hijack the comments section of this blog.

      • For Sure Not Tom

        That’s exactly what she’s doing, and she’s doing that thing where a conservatives thinks it’s voter fraud if there is more than one Juan Gonzales born in any given year.

        Barbara, Juan Gonzales is basically Spanish for John Smith, so it’s probably not voter fraud so much as it is a little racism on your part.

        Reminds me of this bit, I forget the comedians name, but he said he didn’t think West Side Story was believable because Tony runs through the Puerto Rican section of New York yelling “Maria” and only one girl comes out.

        Save yourself the visit to any of her sites, she’s a small potatoes Limbaugh/Beck/Jones wannabe. You can get all the same information from the bumper of your neighbor’s pick up truck.

  6. Voter Fraud is a subject that needs to be investigated. Remeber when Texas, Florida and other states were attempting to purge their voter data base and the DOJ filed lawsuits against the states. In some states (Arizona, California) to name 2 you can register to vote when you get a drivers license. There is not
    any requirement to show you are citizen when you register to vote. The fight against requiring voter id is ludicrous, you need id get a library book, cash a check, get on a plane, rent a car etc. and voting is one of the most important actions a citizen can do. We are supposed to be a nation of laws and voting illegaly is against the law.

  7. Senator John Kavanagh

    AzBm now via news observations diagnoses President Trump as being delusional and possibly insane and wants to invoke the 21st amendment.

    Is this the low level of political discourse BfA has sunk down to or is AzBm the editor? Is the inmate running the asylum?

    • AZ BlueMeanie

      First of all, it is the 25th Amendment, not the 21st. And you might want to call conservative bloggers Jennifer Rubin and David Frum who are making exactly the same point of this post — see the updates. It is clear that you use the comment section only to post invectives towards me, which says a great deal about you. You never have anything of substance to say.

      • Senator John Kavanagh

        Calling you out when you make unfounded and absurd statements is substantive discourse. You need to take criticism when it is due. How about addressing my comment, if you are a person of substance, instead of throwing a criticism back at me? You made an outrageous statement. Defend it.

  8. John Huppenthal

    Really? We easily have a fifty thousand illegal votes here in Arizona.

    Operatives go door to door buying ballots and then take them back to their garages to be voted.

    Those are illegal votes.

    Blue, aren’t you involved with this? You’ve posted that you go door to door collecting ballots. Tell everyone that you haven’t opened those envelopes and filled in the blanks.

    You spread fake research one out of three times you post and this is an example. You know directly of the extent of the illegality.

    There has never been a study or investigation of this, so the idea that it is unproven is meaningless.

    • AZ BlueMeanie

      If you have evidence of 50,000 illegal votes in Arizona, why have you not reported them to law enforcement for prosecution? Better yet, why has the Arizona legislature not impeached Secretary of State Michele Reagan for an abject failure of her official duties in office? And what about the 15 County Recorders? Are they all engaged in a massive conspiracy to cover up illegal voting, something that only exists in your twisted mind?

      I have delivered ballots for voters, and no, I have never opened them and filled out their ballots. That is defamation of a criminal nature, but you are such a small and insignificant little man that you are not worth my time and effort to sue. Chock it up to “consider the source,” a complete fool.

      There have been numerous studies on this topic and I have posted about the leading studies over the years. The fact that you choose to disbelieve the studies because it does not jive with your distorted view of reality does not make the research “fake,” it cals into question your own lack of rationality and objectivity.

      • John Huppenthal

        If there have been any investigations of ballot harvesting and subsequent voting of the ballots collected, cite them and I will be glad to read them and apologize if they are real.

        I doubt they exist.

        And, I am asking for an investigation or study of a very specific accusation: that ballots are being voted after being harvested – in Arizona.

        • For Sure Not Tom

          You’re accusing people of crimes, very serious crimes, felonies!

          Stop posting comments and report this immediately:

          https://www.azag.gov/contact-us

          Ask for Mark.

        • AZ BlueMeanie

          You were not asking for any investigation. You made a very specific allegation of 50,000 illegal votes cast in Arizona, stating this as personal knowledge of fact. The burden of proof is on you to present your evidence. Put up or shut up.

          Not a single supporter of the ballot harvesting bill, HB 2023, could point to even one incident of actual ballot-collection fraud. That’s in the legislative record. Oral argument of Feldman v. Arizona Secretary of State’s Office (16-16698) before an en banc panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that had been scheduled for January 19 has now been rescheduled to June 19, in Seattle, Washington. https://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/content/view.php?pk_id=0000000847

          • John Huppenthal

            We may have been born but we weren’t born yesterday.

            There is a reason heavily democratic states don’t allow harvesting. They know exactly what goes on. You can’t have vote brokers if they can’t guarantee outcomes.

            You say there has been a study or investigation of ballot harvesting and subsequent voting of harvested ballots in Arizona.

            The situation reeks – this isn’t a close call.

            That study or investigation doesn’t exist. Cite it.

            Or, cite it in a different state.

            The ladies doth protest too much

          • AZ BlueMeanie

            You can deflect and ignore presenting your evidence to support your claim that 50,000 voted illegally in Arizona all you want. It is a number that you pulled out of your ass. The Arizona Republic reports, “Voting fraud? Not here, Arizona election officials say,” http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/politicalinsider/2017/01/26/arizona-election-officials-voter-fraud-president-trump/97063468/

            Arizona elections officials say they saw no evidence of widespread voter fraud in November’s election, in contrast to President Donald Trump’s announcement that he will order a major investigation into the matter.

            “We can say with pretty much confidence that we didn’t have widespread voter fraud in Arizona,” Secretary of State Michele Reagan said. A Republican, she appeared on national television Wednesday to repeat her experience that last fall’s election went off cleanly in Arizona.

            While her office received complaints, none rose to the level of needing a full-blown investigation by the state attorney general, she said.

          • For Sure Not Tom

            The hole is deep enough, Falcon9, put the shovel down.

    • Frances Perkins

      And they all voter for you for school sup. Meaning you were illegally elected. Luckily they were gone in your second election.

    • For Sure Not Tom

      The GOTeaP owns the White House, Congress, the Senate, 30 plus states, and here in AZ you own it all.

      If there’s massive voter fraud then to would appear to be happening in your favor.

      So by all means, please investigate yourselves, and also please share whatever you’re smoking with the rest of us, you clearly have the best nugz.

    • “Operatives go door to door buying ballots and then take them back to their garages to be voted.”

      “There has never been a study or investigation of this, so the idea that it is unproven is meaningless.”

      I would think that the burden of proof is on the accuser that mass voter fraud is actually happening. I think we’ve both taken enough statistics to know it’s impossible to prove the null hypothesis, so if there are tens of thousands of ballots being illegally filled out, for whatever value of illegal you want to go with, why not provide some evidence?

      • John Huppenthal

        No, in certain situations the burden of proof reverses.

        We know what happens when the chain of custody is not maintained in police evidence rooms – people steal the drugs.

        We know what happens when the chain of custody is not maintained in accounting systems – people steal the money.

        Votes are valuable, the marginal vote was worth in this last election was worth well in excess of $1,000.

        We know what happens when the chain of custody of votes is not maintained – people steal the votes.

        • For Sure Not Tom

          In each circumstance you cited you still need evidence of a crime. Not following a rule or process may be cause for termination, but is not evidence of a crime.

          Critical thinking is not for everyone, Falcon9.

          Since you have no evidence of voter fraud we can only assume you are working with alternative facts.

        • Do we know that?

          It seems like you are making assumptions of what you believe would happen in those situations, and are expecting the reader to accept those arguments without proof.

          Although, I think it speaks volumes about your character that you rush to judgment without evidence. Where is the *proof* that votes are being stolen and bought? Waving your hands around and saying ‘we know’ things wouldn’t even meet the prima facie standard of proof, let alone even a reasonable suspicion. But then again, maybe we need laws to stop the John Huppenthals of the world from stealing elections, since your argument comes off as the kind of argument that would be made by a person who would do so in the absence of a clear law prohibiting it.