President Donald Trump has repeated a false claim that millions of unauthorized immigrants stole from him the chance of winning the popular vote.
A series of media reports said that in a private meeting with Congressional leaders, Mr Trump repeated a claim – widely shown not to be true – that between three and five million illegal votes caused him to lose the popular contest to his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton. While Mr Trump won the electoral college, 304-227, she beat him in the popular vote by almost three million people.
The meeting, with the top eight House and Senate leaders from both parties, was mostly social and did not go into detail about the President’s policy preferences, reports said. However, Democratic Minority Whip Congressman Steny Hoyer told CNN that Mr Trump also returned to two subjects that have become obsessions – the size of last week’s inauguration crowd, and the scale of his defeat to Ms Clinton in the popular vote.
“He didn’t change his point of view on the crowd size,” Mr Hoyer said. “It was from his perspective a very large crowd…it was clear this was still on his mind.”
Mr Trump has previously claimed that illegal ballots cost him the popular vote, tweeting in November: “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.”
There has been no evidence of widespread voter fraud, and at the time many speculated Mr Trump was referencing a series of fake stories on conspiracy websites that said he had actually beaten Ms Clinton in the popular vote count.
Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the Democratic leader, told the New York Times it was an “interesting” meeting. Along with health care and infrastructure, she said they discussed China and currency manipulation.
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