Within days of the 2016 presidential election, which Donald Trump won in the Electoral College but lost to Hillary Clinton in the popular vote, Trump openly questioned the popular vote results that showed him well behind Clinton. In a message to his Twitter account on November 27, 2016, Trump claimed, “I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.”
But there was no evidence for Trump’s claim that “millions” of illegal votes were cast — all of them for Hillary Clinton — and in fact, an exhaustive study by The Washington Post found exactly four documented cases of fraudulent voting nationwide during the 2016 election out of more than 130 million votes cast.
Nor has any evidence has emerged in the interim to support Trump’s claim, but that did not stop him from repeating the same falsehood once again in an NBC News Meet The Press interview that aired on Sunday morning. That interview is viewable online via YouTube, as posted by NBC News.
When NBC interviewer Chuck Todd asked Trump if he was “bothered” by “the fact that you lost the popular vote,” as quoted by MediaIte, Trump responded by saying that he did not “believe” the popular vote totals.
Those final totals showed Clinton with 65,853,516 votes, to 62,984,825 for Trump — a difference of nearly 2.9 million votes in Clinton’s favor — according to final Federal Election Commission totals.
WATCH: Trump says he’s not prepared to lose in 2020 #MTP #IfItsSunday— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) June 23, 2019
Trump: “I'll say something that, again, is controversial. There were a lot of votes cast [in 2016] that I don't believe.” pic.twitter.com/EfgLEgwRJU
“Excuse me,” Trump said when Todd attempted to interrupt him over his claim to not “believe” the vote totals, as reported via Twitter by Daniel Dale of CNN. “Take a look at Judicial Watch. Take a look at their settlement. California admitted to a million votes.”
Trump’s reference to Judicial Watch, a right-wing watchdog group, likely referred to court settlement earlier this year in which California agreed to remove about 1 million inactive voter registrations from its voter rolls.
But as Newsweek explained, the inactive registrations belonged to people who did not vote at all. The settlement did not reveal any fraudulent voting.
Trump admitted to Todd that he was not “prepared” to lose the 2020 presidential election, as quoted by The New York Post.
“It would be much easier for me to say, ‘Oh, yes.’ No, I’m probably not too prepared to lose,” Trump told Todd in the interview. “I don’t like losing. I haven’t lost very much in my life.”
Trump also claimed that he did not even attempt to win the popular vote and that his campaign was aimed solely at winning the Electoral College. “I would have done … even better,” if the presidency were decided by popular vote, Trump asserted, as quoted by Slate.