For people so concerned with fake news and the problems it causes, the Trump team certainly does their part in advancing it and creating their own.
During a Tuesday press conference, White House press secretary Sean Spicer was asked to answer questions about Trump’s claims that he lost the popular vote only because so many “illegals,” which is Trump’s preferred term for undocumented immigrants, voted fraudulently in the 2016 presidential election. Trump repeated those claims on Monday night during a meeting with congressional leaders.
Spicer tried to dismiss the question the first time he was asked, simply stating that this is “something the president has believed for a long time” because of studies he’s read. When the reporter pressed, Spicer moved on to another question. That same reporter asked again what “studies” the president was using to make those claims.
‘I think there’s been studies. There’s one that came out of Pew in 2008 that showed 14 per cent of people who voted were not citizens.’
There’s on big problem with Spicer’s claim, which a political reporter from ABC News pointed out immediately on Twitter.
Spicer cites a Pew 2008 study statistic on voter fraud in briefing.
1. It was in 2012.
2. It wasn’t Pew.
3. Its author said Trump is wrong.
— Ryan Struyk (@ryanstruyk) January 24, 2017
In fact, Pew never wrote a study in 2008 or at any other time that said people were voting illegally. They did, however, write a study in 2012 about issues with voter registration, and concluded that:
‘Once duplicates among categories are eliminated, approximately 24 million registration records, or nearly 13 percent of the national total, are estimated to be inaccurate or no longer valid.’
That’s voter registrations that are invalid, not votes. The study actually disagreed with a perception that illegal voting was occurring, saying:
‘The inability of this paper-based process to keep up with voters as they move or die can lead to problems with the rolls, including the perception that they lack integrity or could be susceptible to fraud.’
The author of the study also directly disputed Trump’s claims about its conclusions.
We found millions of out of date registration records due to people moving or dying, but found no evidence that voter fraud resulted.
— David Becker (@beckerdavidj) November 28, 2016
The source Spicer was more likely trying to reference, which wasn’t from Pew Research at all, was a piece from The Washington Post from 2014, for which the following retraction was written:
‘Note: The post occasioned three rebuttals (here, here, and here) as well as a response from the authors. Subsequently, another peer-reviewed article argued that the findings reported in this post (and affiliated article) were biased and that the authors’ data do not provide evidence of non-citizen voting in U.S. elections.’
Trump’s repeated claims that undocumented immigrants are voting in order to keep Democrats in the White House have been fact-checked and debunked by other reliable outlets, as well.
Who needs accurate information in an era of “alternative facts?”
Featured image screengrab via video