Less than a day after characterizing a movement to recount votes in three swing states as both "sad" and a "scam," President-elect Donald Trump implied he still thought the election had been rigged. Without providing any evidence whatsoever, Trump claimed he'd actually won the popular vote "if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally."
"In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally," Trump tweeted Sunday.
While Trump's 290 electoral votes did give him a landslide win in the Electoral College, he's taken a massive beating in the popular vote. Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton currently leads the popular vote by more than 2.2 million votes, according to data from the bipartisan Cook Political Report.
Trump's latest tweet, however, seems to imply the president-elect finds it preferable to sweep any inconvenient facts and figures under the rug in order to believe only what he wants to believe. While Trump did not provide any evidence to support his claim that voter fraud had cost him the popular vote (probably because there is none), it's not hard to guess where he got the idea from. The fact-checking website Snopes reported earlier this month that multiple right-leaning websites were falsely reporting erroneous claims that three million illegal immigrants had cast ballots for Clinton in the general election.
In two tweets published immediately after the first Trump claimed winning the popular vote would have been easy for him. "It would have been much easier for me to win the so-called popular vote than the Electoral College in that I would only campaign in 3 or 4... states instead of the 15 states that I visited," Trump tweeted. "I would have won even more easily and convincingly (but smaller states are forgotten)!"
But aside from representing both Trump's love of conspiracy theories and his inability to exercise restraint, Trump's latest string of tweets is hugely problematic for one other reason. Trump's claim the election was rigged due to "millions of people" voting illegally comes not less than 24 hours after he called a push for recount efforts in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan a "Green Party scam."
If Trump was looking to drive home his argument that recount efforts were "sad," this is hardly the position to take. In implying he believes the popular vote was rigged by "millions of people who voted illegally," Trump is only adding fuel to the argument that an audit of the vote is absolutely necessary.
If even the presidential-elect believes vote tallies are inaccurate then clearly an audit is needed to restore the integrity and faith of the election.