In a preview clip of his pre-Super Bowl interview released on Saturday, President Trump scandalized fellow Republicans by again reaffirming his admiration for Vladimir Putin’s bloody tactics, and stating that American government is hardly “innocent” and has “got a lot of killers,” too.
That sound bite got all the attention this weekend—but it was hardly the most outrageous part of the president’s latest conversation with Fox News host Bill O’Reilly.
When the interview aired on Fox on Sunday afternoon before the big game, Donald Trump talked a bit more about the amount of “killing” the United States does, and the many foreign-policy “mistakes” past presidents have made. Trump riffed on how “California and the United States of America are on a collision course” regarding immigration and how defunding sanctuary cities would “certainly” be a potential “weapon” of choice for his administration.
And then President Trump used his big Super Bowl spotlight to continue pushing the gigantic lie of widespread voter fraud in America. And his Fox News political allies and O’Reilly credulously and happily let him do it.
When O’Reilly led the president onto the subject of big-league voter fraud, the host asked Trump if he had concerns that he “can’t back up factually” what he says about alleged significant or large-scale fraud. (He can’t, but more on that in a bit.)
“Many people have come out and said I’m right,” Trump responded. (No one reliable, or who isn’t wrong, has done so—but, again, more on that later.)
“I know, but you have to have the data to back that up,” O’Reilly said.
“When you see illegals...and they’re on the registration rolls, look, Bill, we can be babies…[or see that] it’s really a bad situation,” Trump replied.
“So you think you’re going to be proven correct?” the Fox News personality asked.
“I think I already have,” Trump claimed.
O’Reilly chimed in again to point out that the “data has to show” that Trump is in fact right. The president shot back, telling his friend Bill to “forget all that” and assured him that Vice President Mike Pence would head a committee on getting to the bottom of this imagined problem. (Last week, Trump reportedly punted on signing an executive order to open a Justice Department investigation into his unsubstantiated claim that millions of people illegally voted in the presidential election that he won.)
“Well, that’s good, let’s get to the bottom of it,” O’Reilly responded.
People have gotten to the bottom of this—multiple times.
Fox News hosts and personalities are no strangers to broadcasting tall tales about voter fraud, and neither are Trump and the GOP. The president did it all through his campaign and into his presidency.
That doesn’t change the fact that there is literally zero evidence for what they are selling.
There have been many major investigations into this issue. They consistently turn up squat. Five years after the George W. Bush administration started its crackdown on voter fraud, the Department of Justice ultimately could not find evidence for widespread fraud in U.S. elections, no matter how badly Republicans wanted to believe it.
Trump himself has relied on a man named Gregg Phillips to back up his claims of fraud. As The Daily Beast previously reported, Phillips has not provided any evidence for his wild claims and he has a history of these kinds of schemes and a reputation for being a “hustler.”
No matter. As the president just said, you can just “forget all that.”
Today, the Trump administration and Fox News used the Super Bowl, one of the most watched events in the country, to promote the voter-fraud make-believe that Republicans and conservative activists seize upon to justify all kinds of racist voter suppression across the states.
The interview was ended with the two of them discussing Obamacare, how many hours a night Trump now sleeps, and yucking it up about the Patriots and football.