Trump Reveals Source For Voter Fraud Claims: Rich German Golf Buddy Saw Latinos Vote

Lead Photo: U.S. President Donald J. Trump listens during a Department of Veterans Affairs announcement. Photo by Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images News
U.S. President Donald J. Trump listens during a Department of Veterans Affairs announcement. Photo by Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images News
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Despite winning the presidency with 304 electoral votes in November, President Donald Trump isn’t content knowing that he trailed his opponent, Hillary Clinton, by 2.8 million ballots in the popular vote. Since his victory, he’s continued to insist that the United States has fallen victim to rampant voter fraud, even though evidence states that it’s nearly non-existent in the US. On Wednesday, he fired off two tweets claiming that he plans to tackle this non-issue. “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!”

As Trump demonstrated throughout the entire election, unsubstantiated claims often inform his point of view. So when the New York Times uncovered the possible reason guiding Trump’s latest voter fraud comments, it proved to be a flimsy cover for what appear to be thinly veiled racial motivations. On Monday, Trump hosted a reception for House and Senate leaders, where he said that he only lost the popular vote because three to five million undocumented people cast their votes against him. As one of the Democrats spoke out, Trump began a story that he said he learned from his friend, “the very famous golfer, Bernhard Langer,” according to three staff members.

Reportedly, Trump said that Langer – born in Bavaria, Germany – headed to the polls near his Boca Raton, Florida home, only to learn he couldn’t vote. However, Trump recalled Langer telling him that plenty of people who “did not look as if they should be allowed to vote” cast provisional ballots. Trump said these people likely came from Latin American countries.

A senior White House staff member who didn’t attend the reception but is familiar with the story told the NYT that the subject of the anecdote is actually one of Langer’s friends. And when the publication reached out to the golfer, his daughter, Christina, picked up. She said, “He is a citizen of Germany. He is not a friend of President Trump’s, and I don’t know why he would talk about him.”

Some of the specifics are certainly jumbled. But what’s really telling is what Trump got out of this story: He believes that Latinos at the polls should elicit suspicion, but a white man like Langer doesn’t merit the same wariness. With a record 27.3 million Latinos eligible to vote in the United States, our demographic makes up a sizable chunk of the country’s eligible voters (~231,556,622).

What’s really dangerous about his fraudulent voter fraud claims is that it can lead to more voter suppression, which targets people of color. “The thing that I worry about with this argument about voter fraud is it gives the Republicans and others another tool and another reason to justify to the public of denying people the right to vote,” Rep. Elijah Cummings said, according to Politico. “The president can join me and my staff, and we will show him that there is no voter fraud. The thing I do want him to do, I want him to investigate, are all of the people who don’t get the chance to vote, who have been denied the right to vote.”

People of color have often been on the receiving end of these practices. As a matter of fact, Mother Jones highlighted a few of the tactics used even today to try to sway elections, which include felon disenfranchisement and voter purges. There’s already an inherent mistrust of people of color at the polls, and the president shouldn’t be stoking those flames.