Having stunned the media with his Monday night announcement before members of Congress during a private reception that Trump only lost the popular vote due to vote fraud, the president refused to back down the next day, when on Tuesday the White House said Trump stands by his belief that millions of people voted illegally in the U.S. election.
"The president does believe that," White House spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters. The press secretary said the president had said "3 to 5 million people could have voted illegally, based on the studies that he's seen" although he did not quote the studies.
Fast forward to Wednesday morning when anyone who wondered if Trump would let go of this particularly sensitive issues which attacks the legitimacy of his presidency, got their answer with a series of two tweets by the President, who shortly after 7am said that he will request a probe into US voter fraud to resolve the ongoing back and forth once and for all:
"I will be asking for a major investigation into VOTER FRAUD, including those registered to vote in two states, those who are illegal and even, those registered to vote who are dead (and many for a long time). Depending on results, we will strengthen up voting procedures!"
I will be asking for a major investigation into VOTER FRAUD, including those registered to vote in two states, those who are illegal and....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 25, 2017
even, those registered to vote who are dead (and many for a long time). Depending on results, we will strengthen up voting procedures!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 25, 2017
Trump's proposed investigation will likely be undertaken by the Department of Justice, whose new head, Jeff Sessions, has yet to be confirmed.
As noted above, this "thread" started on Monday night when Trump said he lost the popular vote because of rampant voter fraud by "illegals." "He said 3 to 5 million 'illegals' voted so that's why he lost popular vote," a Democratic aide said. The president made similar claims in tweets he posted after his victory.
"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 tweeted after Election Day.
Several lawmakers and reporters have since disputed the president's claims about rampant voter fraud, saying there is no evidence to back up his allegations, which explains Trump's insistence to get to the bottom of this.
Since the topic of voter fraud was widely cast by the mainstream press as falling under the "fake news" umbrella during the presidential campaign, Trump has just waved red, dripping meat before the US media which will dutifully focus on this one statement, while putting all the other things to come out from the Trump administration on its third working day, on the back burner especially since on December 1, the Trump legal team, commenting on the Stein recount, said "all available evidence suggests that the 2016 general election was not tainted by fraud/mistake" .