President Donald Trump used a story told to him by the “very famous golfer” Bernhard Langer about supposed voter fraud witnessed by Langer to back up his claims about illegal voting during a reception with leaders of Congress, the New York Times reports.
Trump claimed during the talk with House and Senate leaders that three to five million people voted illegally during the election, and has since said all of those illegal votes were cast against him. He has called for an investigation into voter fraud.
According to the Times, Trump was questioned by Democrats about his false claim of massive voter fraud during the reception, and the president responded with the anecdote from Langer, a 59-year-old German pro golfer.
Langer told Trump he was trying to vote for the future president in Florida, but was not able to because he is a German citizen and not eligible to vote. Langer said while he was turned away, others who he says appeared to be ineligible voters were allowed to cast ballots, Trump said, according to the Times.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Langer Told Trump He Saw ‘Voters Who Did Not Look as if They Should Be Allowed to Vote,’ the President Says
Bernhard Langer told President Trump he saw “voters who did not look as if they should be allowed to vote” in front and behind him in line, and they were allowed to cast provisional ballots, Trump told the Congressional leaders, the New York Times reports.
According to the Times, Trump listed several Latin American countries where the voters might have come from.
Trump told the House and Senate leaders that Langer, a supporter, left the polling place feeling frustrated.
A senior White House staffer told the Times that Trump heard the story form Langer in Florida during the Thanksgiving holiday. The story made a “big impression” on Trump, the aide told the newspaper.
The Times reports that the leaders of Congress were “stunned to silence” by Trump’s claims.
2. The Golfer’s Daughter Told the Times Her Father Is ‘Not a Friend of President Trump’s’
Langer has not commented about the New York Times report.
The Times spoke to Langer’s daughter, Christina, who said her father is not an eligible voter, and is also not a friend of President Trump.
“He is a citizen of Germany,” Christina Langer said. “He is not a friend of President Trump’s, and I don’t know why he would talk about him.”
Langer’s daughter told the Times her father is “very busy” and was not available to talk about Trump’s anecdote.
3. He Is a 2-Time Masters Champion & Was the Top-Ranked Golfer in the World in 1986
Langer was one of the top professional golfers in the world in the 1980s and 1990s, winning the Masters championship, one of the most elite tournaments in the world, twice.
He was also the top ranked golfer in the world in 1986.
Langer made a splash during the 2016 Masters, as he attempted to become the oldest golfer to win any major tournament. He finished the third round just four strokes behind the leader, but ended up tied for 24th after shooting a 79 on Sunday.
4. Langer Now Plays on the PGA Champions’ Tour & Won the Mitsubishi Electric Championship Last Week
Langer now plays on the PGA Champions’ tour, the senior golf tour, and has continued to find success there.
He most recently won the Mitsubishi Electric Championship last week.
Langer has won 30 times on the Champions’ Tour, second only to Hale Irwin’s 45 victories on the senior tour, according to ESPN.
During his career, Langer has won more than $10 million on the PGA Tour and more than $18 million on the Champions’ tour.
5. The Father of 4 Children Lives in Florida With His Wife
Langer, a native of Anhausen, Germany, in Bavaria, owns homes in his native country and in Boca Raton, Florida.
He has been married to his wife, Vikki Carol, since 1984. They have four children together.
Langer is a born-again Christian, and has not spoken out much about politics. He did not vocally support Trump during the election. He did talk about politics briefly in 2015 during an interview with CNN while talking about his faith.
“I’d gone to church for 27 years or something, but this was different — I liked it more the way it was explained. It quickly became clear what was missing in my life. I didn’t have a personal relationship with God or Jesus Christ,” Langer told CNN. “Once I made the decision, it became a huge part of my life: how I treat people, how I look at the world, how I look at politics. It affected everything. We’re so involved with the here and now we have for 70, 80 or 90 years when it’s all about the eternal ranks. Our life is just a fleeting moment compared to eternity.”
Langer, a legal U.S. resident and green card holder talked about not feeling the need to become a citizen during an interview in 2014 prior to a Champions’ Tour tournament.
“I don’t feel the need at this point. I pay my taxes here like every citizen here does. I still have a German passport,” he said. “Why should I trade in my German passport for an American one when I can vote in Germany? Right now, I’m not sure I want to vote the way it is going. Actually I need to vote, I need to have 1,000 votes. At this point I do not see any necessity (to become a citizen). It doesn’t mean I will not in the future. I have a green card, I pay my taxes. The only thing I cannot do is vote.”
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