Republicans have spent years pushing lies about voter fraud in order to justify vote suppression measures. But Donald Trump took these lies to another level entirely. He not only claimed in advance of the election that its outcome would be illegitimate if he lost. After winning the electoral college, he then falsely claimed that “millions” had voted illegally and that he’d actually won the popular vote, to dramatically inflate impressions of his popular support and mandate and, worse, apparently to continue eroding public confidence in our elections and democratic institutions.
Now two top Republicans have been given the opportunity to set the record straight about Trump’s claim that “millions” voted illegally. Both declined — making them complicit in Trump’s efforts to undermine that public confidence and, by extension, weaken our democracy.
QUESTION: Trump tweeted in the last week or so that he had actually won the popular vote, if you deduct the millions who voted illegally. Do you believe that?
RYAN: I don’t know. I’m not really focused on these things.
QUESTION: Wait a minute. You have an opinion on whether millions of Americans voted illegally.
RYAN: I have no way of backing that up. I have no knowledge of such things. But it doesn’t matter to me. He won the election.
Meanwhile, RNC chair Reince Priebus was asked on Face the Nation to account for Trump’s claim. “I don’t know if that’s not true,” Priebus insisted. Pressed further, he actually said: “It’s possible.”