Spicer defends Trump’s ‘belief’ that there was widespread voter fraud

Zack Ford Editor, Think Progress LGBT

At Tuesday’s White House press conference, questions advanced from the administration’s lie about inauguration turnout to President Trump’s false claim that 3–5 million people voted illegally, which he reiterated in a meeting with congressional leaders on Monday.

Press Secretary Sean Spicer defended Trump for maintaining this belief, dismissing questions about its truthfulness.

“The president does believe that. He has stated that before,” Spicer responded. “I think he has stated his concerns of voter fraud and people voting illegally during the campaign. And he continues to maintain that belief based on studies and evidence that people have first have presented to him.”

It was pointed out to Spicer that House Speaker Paul Ryan (R), who had been in the meeting with Trump, said earlier on Tuesday that he knew of “no evidence” to support the claim of massive voter fraud. Additional questions pressed Spicer as to what “studies and evidence” Trump was relying on.

Spicer cited a single Pew report that he claims showed that in 2008, 14 percent of people who voted were non-citizens. “There’s other studies that have been presented to him. It’s a belief he maintains.”

The Trump transition team cited the same study back in the fall to defend this claim, and it was thoroughly debunked, including by the researcher who conducted the study.

Spicer was then asked whether, if Trump believes there was such widespread voter fraud, he would launch an investigation.

“Maybe we will,” he replied. “But right now the focus that the President has is putting Americans back to work.”

Though he was dismissive of follow-up questions about the implications of such allegedly widespread voter fraud, Spicer did assure reporters that Trump is “comfortable” with his win and simply made the comment “in passing.”

In 2016, there were only four documented cases of voter fraud, but the myth of a bigger problem is spurring more states to pass laws making it harder for people to vote. Such laws generally suppress the vote of racial minorities, often benefiting Republicans in elections.

***

Reposted from Think Progress.

Zack Ford is the editor of ThinkProgress LGBT at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, hailing from the small town of Newport, PA. Prior to joining ThinkProgress, Zack blogged for two years at ZackFordBlogs.com with occasional cross-posts at Pam’s House Blend. He also co-hosts a popular LGBT-issues podcast called Queer and Queerer with activist and performance artist Peterson Toscano. A graduate of Ithaca College (B.M. Music Education) and Iowa State University (M.Ed. Higher Education), Zack is an accomplished pianist with a passion for social justice education. Follow him on Twitter at @ZackFord.

Posted In: Allied Approaches

Union Matters

The Big Drip

From the USW

From tumbledown bridges to decrepit roads and failing water systems, crumbling infrastructure undermines America’s safety and prosperity. In coming weeks, Union Matters will delve into this neglect and the urgent need for a rebuilding campaign that creates jobs, fuels economic growth and revitalizes communities. 

A rash of water main breaks in West Berkeley, Calif., and neighboring cities last month flooded streets and left at least 300 residents without water. Routine pressure adjustments in response to water demand likely caused more than a dozen pipes, some made of clay and more than 100 years old, to rupture.

West Berkeley’s brittle mains are not unique. Decades of neglect left aging pipes susceptible to breaks in communities across the U.S., wasting two trillion gallons of treated water each year as these systems near collapse.

Comprehensive upgrades to the nation’s crumbling water systems would stanch the flow and ensure all Americans have reliable access to clean water.

Nationwide, water main breaks increased 27 percent between 2012 and 2018, according to a Utah State University study.  

These breaks not only lead to service disruptions  but also flood out roads, topple trees and cause illness when drinking water becomes contaminated with bacteria.

The American Water Works Association estimated it will cost at least $1 trillion over the next 25 years to upgrade and expand water infrastructure.

Some local water utilities raised their rates to pay for system improvements, but that just hurts poor consumers who can’t pay the higher bills.

And while Congress allocates money for loans that utilities can use to fix portions of their deteriorating systems, that’s merely a drop in the bucket—a fraction of what agencies need for lasting improvements.

America can no longer afford a piecemeal approach to a systemic nationwide crisis. A major, sustained federal commitment to fixing aging pipes and treatment plants would create millions of construction-related jobs while ensuring all Americans have safe, affordable drinking water.

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work