New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner, right, introduces one of the speakers at a meeting of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017 in Manchester, NH. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, center, and former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, left, also attend. Gardner opened the meeting by defending his participation and the panel’s existence, saying it hasn’t yet reached any conclusion. (AP Photo/Holly Ramer)
Just a few weeks after his inauguration, President Trump announced he was going to establish a commission to study vote fraud in US elections. The executive order was signed in May. It was not the best thought out idea. Vote fraud is very real As we saw in the recount of ballots in Michigan, over a third of precincts had more ballots cast than they had voters show up on election day. This happens routinely in Democrat vote factories like Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Chicago, and any other place anyone with ambition desires to look. But appointing a presidential commission made it a high-value target and many states ended up refusing to participate in the process. As much as I like what Kris Kobach has done on trying to preserve the value of the ballot, writing paid columns for Breitbart.com on vote fraud was not a great resume item to have if the commission was to be credible.
Wisely, Trump has thrown in the towel on this.
President Donald Trump is dumping a controversial commission that was charged with investigating his unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud during the 2016 election, the White House said Wednesday.
Trump asked the Department of Homeland Security to look into the issue instead.
“Despite substantial evidence of voter fraud, many states have refused to provide the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity with basic information relevant to its inquiry,” a statement from the president said. “Rather than engage in endless legal battles at taxpayer expense, today I signed an executive order to dissolve the Commission.”
The effort will continue but just in a manner that will not have the visibility, or target status, of a presidential commission.
And fingers are pointing:
White House officials on Wednesday night were quick to pillory the commission, and point a finger at the person they said was responsible for its creation: former chief strategist Steve Bannon, who was slammed in a statement by Trump on Wednesday after accusing Donald Trump Jr. of treason.
Bannon insisted on the commission’s creation, and pushed hard for it, one White House official said.
“This was his idea, and it was not a good one,” the official said.
The commission was a “blundered Bannon rollout” and “should’ve never been in place,” another person familiar with the effort said.
It was just hours after Trump said in a statement that Bannon had “lost his mind” that the White House announced that the commission would be no more.
“Steve Bannon was immensely focused on the voter fraud commission,” a person familiar with the commission said. “It struck me as a strong signal to something he was very passionate about when he was in the White House.”
The fact that Trump has moved beyond this rather than doubling down and fighting is, I think, a good thing. As the man said, ‘you got to know when to hold them, and know when to fold them.’ This was the time to cut losses and walk away.