Sparking his latest confrontation with the media, mostly the NYT, CNN and WaPo, overnight president Trump told members of Congress on Monday in a private reception that he lost the popular vote in the election because millions of undocumented immigrants cast votes for his opponent.
Trump's claim, which much of the mainstream press has determined to be "fake news" despite reported evidence to the contrary, was first made by Trump before his election, and drew widespread criticism by the press overnight.
According to a Bloomberg report, Trump told Republican and Democratic congressional leaders at the White House reception that he would have won the popular vote had three to five million undocumented immigrants not cast ballots for Democrat Hillary Clinton, three people familiar with the remark said. Two of the people said Trump used the term “illegals” to describe the alleged immigrant voters. As a reminder, Hillary Clinton won the national popular vote by about 2.9 million ballots.
A White House spokesman, Marc Short, told Bloomberg that the administration would not comment because the reception was off the record. The White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, later said that he would "look into" the report.
Naturally, it is illegal for anyone but citizens to vote in most U.S. elections. Various reports during and after the election, especially during the infamous Jill Stein recount, found irregularities in voting which suggested that illegal voters were indeed allowed to cast votes, however not to the extent claimed by Trump, who suggested that at least 3 million undocumented immigrants voted in the 2016 election. There were sporadic reports of people voting illegally, as there are in nearly all elections, but federal and state officials of both parties said that the election’s integrity was overwhelmingly secure.
Trump first asserted that illegal ballots had tilted the popular vote in Clinton’s favor in a Nov. 27 tweet. "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," he said. He provided no evidence for the claim. Elections officials in California, New Hampshire and Virginia said it was baseless.
Subsequently Trump said he would have won the popular vote had he campaigned for the most votes in the election, rather than focusing on an Electoral College victory.
For now, however, the media has found a new Trump "scandal" over which to obssess, as the president continues to dominate the newsflow with secondary and otherwise irrelevant stories, which preoccupy the US press, while the important stuff remains largely uncovered and leads to increased "uncertainty" in markets about the future about Trump's policies.
In fact, if there were even 1 million illegally cast votes (there weren't), a president would be derelict to not order a major investigation— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) January 24, 2017
Unless of course it's not even remotely true and we all know this but no one in the WH and no GOP Leaders are willing to say this to him.— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) January 24, 2017
Meanwhile, the NYT's text and headline, speak for themselves :
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.