The vice chairman of Donald Trump’s Commission on Voter Integrity made a bizarre claim during a MSNBC interview on Wednesday.
When MSNBC’s Katy Tur asked if Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) thought Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton had won the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election by three to five million votes, Kobach responded, “We’ll probably never know the answer to that question.”
When she pressed him on the matter, he repeated: “We may never know the answer to that question.”
Clinton won the popular vote by about three million votes — a result Kobach implied could have been skewed by massive voter fraud. But according to a 2014 investigation into voter fraud, cases of fraud occur about three times per 100 million voters, and about 120 million people voted in the 2016 election. In fact, voter fraud is so rare that more people are struck by lightning than commit it, according to Politifact.
For the most part, conservatives agree that Clinton did, in fact, win the popular vote without the aid of voter fraud. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) said there was “no evidence” of voter fraud in the election, a statement that was echoed by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI). Even Fox Business conceded that Clinton won the popular vote by about three million votes.
Kobach’s claim, however, is backed up by one very powerful conservative voice: that of the President of the United States. President Donald Trump claimed in November that he, in fact, had won the popular vote, “if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.”
In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 27, 2016
This isn’t the first time Kobach has said something like this. Earlier this year, he said that “we may never know” whether Trump’s claim of widespread fraud is true or false — but that the allegation wasn’t the reason why the commission was founded.
In fact, the commission appears to be laying the groundwork for voter suppression by flogging spurious allegations of widespread fraud.