During Monday’s “daily media call” with reporters, President-elect Donald Trump’s Transition Team responded to the media’s bashing of him for tweeting that “millions” voted illegally in the presidential election, and “Serious voter fraud in Virginia, New Hampshire and California – so why isn’t the media reporting on this? Serious bias – big problem!” Press coverage was merciless and universally accused Trump of failing to back up his charge with evidence – and some news stories went so far as to calling his accusation an outright untruth.
All three major networks noted the story Sunday night. NBC Nightly News led with “Trump offered no evidence to support the claim and did not clarify whom he believed voted illegally.” ABC World News called Trump’s claims “baseless.”
Print reports were worse. The Associated Press said Trump “claimed without evidence Sunday that ‘millions’ voted illegally in the national election.” Bloomberg News stated that Trump “cited no evidence.” Reuters, McClatchy, the Wall Street Journal, The Hill, and others other outlets, similarly indicate that Trump did not provide proof to support his claim – though they do not question truthfulness. But Politico, TIME and BuzzFeed stated that Trump’s claims were false.
So during the media call conducted by Sean Spicer and Jason Miller, when NPR’s Tamara Keith asked if they could point to evidence of voter fraud and the “millions of people who Trump claims voted illegally,” Miller was happy to comply. Miller referred to the 2014 Washington Post study that indicated more than 14 percent of non-citizens in both the 2008 and 2010 elections indicated they were registered to vote, and the Pew Research study that said approximately 24 million, or one out of every eight, voter registrations in the United States are no longer valid or are significantly inaccurate. Miller went on to say that the same Pew Research study notes that 2.5 million people have registrations in more than one state. These are studies and examples of where there have been issues of both voter fraud and illegal immigrants voting.
Later, Todd Gillman of the Dallas Morning News asked if the Justice Department would investigate the people who actually did vote illegally after Trump takes office. After saying it would be inappropriate for him to speculate about Justice Department activity following the transfer of power has been completed, Miller than added to his previous response. I do think that’s an issue of concern, the fact that there’s a concern shown by the Pew research study and the Washington Post report.
Here is a transcript of the exchanges between Miller and the two reporters:
TAMARA KEITH: I am hoping that you could point to the evidence of millions of people who Mr. Trump claims voted illegally and also any evidence you have of election fraud that he claimed on Twitter happened in New Hampshire, Virginia and California.
MILLER: Yes, thanks for bringing that up.
You know, one of the things I’d say just, kind of, on the front end that I really do think that it’s been ridiculous that so much oxygen’s been given to the recount effort where there’s absolutely no chance of any election results changing. This election’s been decided, it’s a conceded election, and I think even to the fact that, you know, Clinton’s general counsel has mocked the McCrory recount effort in North Carolina, it’s even a — a much smaller margin.
You know, with regard to, you know, additional — you know, but I think it’s also important to point out that if so much time and attention is gonna be given to recount issues and some of the other things that Jill Stein has been bringing up, it’s important to talk about some of the other concerns that are out there with regard to voting.
And in particular, I’d point to the 2014 Washington Post study that indicated more than 14 percent of non-citizens in both the 2008 and 2010 elections indicated they were registered to vote, and that Washington Post story is important.
I’d also point out some of the other examples that we had raised during the campaign. Some numbers include the Pew Research study that said approximately 24 million, or one out of every eight, voter registrations in the United States are no longer valid or significantly inaccurate. And in that same Pew Research study, the fact that 2.5 million people have registrations in more than one state.
So all these are studies and examples of where there have been issues of both voter fraud and illegal immigrants voting. So if this much attention and oxygen’s gonna be given to a completely frivolous, throwaway fund-raising scheme by someone like Jill Stein, then there should be actual substantive looks at the — the overall examples of voter fraud and illegal immigrants voting in recent years.
And so that’s — that’s the — the broader message that I think should be taken away here
[. . .]
At risk of being accused of taking a second bite of the apple, I wanna ask about the allegations of all the millions of people who voted illegally.
Jason, you — you mentioned people who might have but not people who actually did vote illegally. Will there be a Justice Department investigation once Trump is president? And has he asked state or federal officials, election officials, law enforcement, to investigate these allegations that billions of people voted illegally this year?
MILLER: Well, thank you very much for the question.
So I think it’d be inappropriate for me to speculate as far as Justice Department activity following — after inauguration or after swearing in and the transfer of power has been completed. So I’ll go ahead and — I’ll go ahead and leave that one.
But obviously, I — I do think that’s an issue of concern, the fact that there’s a concern that so many voted who were not legally supposed to.
And I think that one of the — the key points — I think there’s a — a responsibility from members of the media is to give an appropriate level of — of attention to some of these different concerns as — as we’ve seen from the Pew research study and the — the report that was in The Washington Post and a number of others and — as opposed to just chasing the — the shiny object of the Jill Stein recount effort, which is really just a way for Ms. Stein and the Green Party to go and make money.
I think they’ve already raised — I think the number I saw earlier was some $6 million. It’s just completely ridiculous and I think anyone who looks at that on — on face value just sees how — how nonsensical it is.
So, I appreciate that, Todd.
The press went way overboard on their negative coverage of this issue.