When asked about the ongoing election fraud scandal in North Carolina’s 9th congressional district Friday, President Donald Trump said he condemns “all election fraud” before pivoting to a monologue about election fraud that does not exist.
“I condemn any election fraud,” the president told reporters in the Oval Office. “And when I look at what’s happened in California with the votes, when I look at what happened — as you know, there was a case where they found a million fraudulent votes… When I look at Texas, when I look at that catastrophe that took place in Florida where the Republican candidates kept getting less and less and less and less. And fortunately Rick Scott and Ron ended up winning their election, but it was disgraceful what happened there.”
Trump was seemingly referring to false posts that appeared on conservative Facebook pages last year claiming over one million illegal votes were cast in California on Election Day. Politifact rated this claim as “pants on fire.” The Facebook post attributed the data to the conservative Judicial Watch group.
“Not ours,” Jill Farrell, a Judicial Watch spokesperson, told Politifact. “Just some random person misinterpreting.”
In Florida, conservatives claimed that fraud was the reason last year’s senate and gubernatorial races were so close, saying ballots “showed up out of nowhere” after Election Day. It is normal, however, for ballots to arrive later. Mail-in ballots can be counted up until 7 p.m. on election night, and overseas and military voters are given an extra week. Claims of election fraud in Florida have gone completely unsubstantiated.
With regards to his mention of Texas, Trump has repeated false claims of voter fraud in the state, alleging that 58,000 non-citizens voted in the last election with 95,000 non-citizens registered to vote. This misinformation is based off of efforts made by the state to match driver’s license and state ID card applications from non-citizens to voter registration rolls. The Texas director of elections has warned these are weak matches that do not take into consideration voters who may have become naturalized citizens after having obtained their drivers licenses.
“The full picture has not been presented,” Zenén Jaimes Pérez, advocacy and communications director for the Texas Civil Rights Project, told USA Today. “It’s pretty dangerous to claim all of those people registered to vote illegally.”
In quickly pivoting to Florida, Texas, and California, Trump is dodging actual, credible claims of fraud in North Carolina, where a mountain of evidence points to Republican congressional candidate Mark Harris committing election fraud during his 2018 campaign. Staffers working for the Harris campaign reportedly illegally collected absentee ballots from voters, threw away ones marked for his opponent, and filled in blank ballots as votes for Harris.
The situation in North Carolina has become so concerning that the state Board of Elections has called for a new election — the first redo of a congressional election since 1975.
Trump, who created an entire task force dedicated to “election integrity,” has turned a blind eye to the case and has yet to tweet about or make any relevant statement regarding Harris. Trump campaigned in support of the former anti-LGBTQ pastor last year. The Republican members of his now-defunct election integrity commission have also been silent about the North Carolina scandal.