In an interview with ABC News on Wednesday night, the president doubled down on his “belief,” completely unsupported by evidence, that there were millions of illegal votes cast in last year’s presidential election:
Referencing a series of high-profile Republicans who rebuked Trump’s bogus claim, World News Tonight anchor David Muir asked the obvious question: “Do you think that talking about millions of illegal votes is dangerous to this country, without presenting the evidence?”
Trump’s response? “No, not at all, because many people feel the same way that I do.” He also said: “Millions of people agree with me when I say that. If you would have looked on one of the other networks, and all of the people that were calling in, they’re saying ‘We agree with Mr. Trump. We agree.’ They’re very smart people.”
Trump might be right about public opinion. A Washington Post-ABC News poll in September showed almost half of Americans believe voter fraud happens often, and a Qualtrics research survey in December showed half of Republicans incorrectly believe Trump won the popular vote over Hillary Clinton.
But instead of correcting this misinformation, Trump is exploiting it by pushing a conspiracy theory that he thinks will redound to his political benefit. His only metric for public speaking is whether he can get away with lies or not.