Just one day after Press Secretary Sean Spicer brushed aside the notion of an investigation into the issue of voter fraud, President Donald Trump, a man who should not have access to the nuclear codes, has changed his tune.
CNN reports that the president could sign an executive order or memorandum that would order an investigation on the issue of voter fraud as early as Thursday. Like every other decision this administration has made to date, Trump stated his desire to do so in a series of early morning tweets, saying “I will be asking for a major investigation into VOTER FRAUD, including those registered to vote in two states, those who are illegal and...even, those registered to vote who are dead (and many for a long time). Depending on results, we will strengthen up voting procedures!”
The call for an investigation into this issue stem from Trump’s insistence that at least 3 million illegal ballots were cast in November –an assertion that has been widely discredited by reputable sources. In an interview with ABC News’ David Muir that aired Wednesday, the president cites a 2012 Pew report as a source for his claims, which is refuted by Muir, who spoke to the person who authored the report. Trump’s quick shift in attitude upon hearing that news is truly disturbing to watch.
Also distressing is what appears to be the true source of Trump’s concerns about voter fraud: an anecdote about the golfer Bernhard Langer, whom Trump referred to as a “friend,” recounted to Senate leaders on Monday over hors d’ouevres.
From the New York Times, emphasis ours:
The witnesses described the story this way: Mr. Langer, a 59-year-old native of Bavaria, Germany — a winner of the Masters twice and of more than 100 events on major professional golf tours around the world — was standing in line at a polling place near his home in Florida on Election Day, the president explained, when an official informed Mr. Langer he would not be able to vote.
Ahead of and behind Mr. Langer were voters who did not look as if they should be allowed to vote, Mr. Trump said, according to the staff members — but they were nonetheless permitted to cast provisional ballots. The president threw out the names of Latin American countries that the voters might have come from.
Mr. Langer, whom he described as a supporter, left feeling frustrated, according to a version of events later contradicted by a White House official.
The anecdote, the aides said, was greeted with silence, and Mr. Trump was prodded to change the subject by Reince Priebus, the White House chief of staff, and Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas.
Confusing stuff, especially when you take into consideration the fact that when the Times contacted Langer’s daughter, she confirmed that her father is not a friend of Trump and is also a German citizen with permanent residence status in the U.S., meaning that by law, he can’t vote. White House staffers also told the Times that Trump had told this story before, but it was a story about one of Langer’s friends, not Langer himself. It seems that Trump seized upon this anecdote, treated it as fact and felt it was enough to shape the virulent anti-immigrant executive orders he signed Wednesday and this possible executive order he might sign Thursday.
Never mind the fact that these executive orders are reportedly being rushed through with little consideration for the legality of the orders or the people under him who will have to somehow enforce them. Never mind the fact that according to this report from Poltico, the majority of the executive orders are being written by Stephen Bannon, a man who up until very recently ran a news organization that is nothing more than a mouthpiece for hate speech. Please ignore the fact that the very serious implications of the numerous executive orders Trump has signed within the first five days of his presidency have not been vetted by the various people who would and should vet them, not only because it’s their job, but because they know an awful lot more about any of this shit than President Donald J. Trump. Ignore all that. This is how the world is now. It’s fine.
.Are you panicking yet? You should be.