President-Elect Donald Trump alleged on Sunday night that major voter fraud took place in three states during the 2016 election, an unfounded claim that he did not back up with any evidence.
Trump said in a Twitter post that there was “serious voter fraud” in Virginia, New Hampshire and California, three states that Hillary Clinton won on November 8th. There have been no reports of significant voter fraud in any of these states, a fact Trump apparently acknowledged when he stated that the media is not talking about the issue. How Trump knows about the supposed issue himself was not made clear.
This comes four hours after Trump posted several tweets in a row claiming that the only reason Hillary Clinton won the popular vote was because millions of people cast fraudulent ballots. Trump once again did not provide any evidence to support this or specify what exactly he was referring to, but his statement implies that over two million people voted illegally during the 2016 election, an astonishing assertion for an incoming president to make.
It’s possible that Trump is referring to a report that went around fringe blogs claiming that three million undocumented immigrants voted in the election. This was promoted by conspiracy theorists and those on the alt-right, but there is no basis to it at this time; the report comes from a person on Twitter named Gregg Phillips, who claims to be a voter fraud expert and who says that three million undocumented immigrants voted this year without providing any proof or sharing any of his data.
Trump’s voter fraud claims were met with a mixture of mockery and confusion from those on Twitter, with some questioning why Trump was so angry about an election that he won and with others trying and failing to figure out where Trump’s sudden allegations were coming from.
The president-elect’s tweetstorm was particularly strange considering that it came hours after he mocked Hillary Clinton for participating in a recount effort. Trump is now simultaneously stating that millions of votes were fraudulently cast and that taking another look at those votes is a waste of time. Also, one would think that if there were to be a large-scale effort to rig the election in favor of Hillary Clinton, those millions of votes would be cast in states that could actually change the result rather than in solidly-blue states like California.
Donald Trump repeatedly stated during his presidential campaign that the election might be rigged against him and that voter fraud would take place. This is a concept he immediately dropped upon being elected president, only to bring it back up in response to Jill Stein and Hillary Clinton’s attempt to recount votes in Wisconsin. It’s unlikely Stein’s efforts will have any major impact, but Trump’s angry response and willingness to throw around baseless allegations serves as a reminder that the Trump of the general election has not disappeared, and it raises questions about how he could react to a hypothetical defeat in 2020.