Trump's belief in voter fraud could be based on an event that didn't happen

Donald Trump.
(Image credit: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

President Trump is basing his belief in widespread voter fraud on an event that the daughter of a key player says never happened, The New York Times reports.

Trump has been repeating baseless claims of rampant voter fraud since after the election, and on Wednesday he announced he is ordering an investigation. Unidentified staffers who attended a meeting Monday with House and Senate leaders told the Times that Trump gave a rambling explanation into why he lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes — because "illegals" cast 3 to 5 million ballots, all against him. A Democrat spoke up at the meeting, the staffers said, but Trump launched into a story that he says his "friend" and "supporter," "the very famous golfer Bernhard Langer," told him.

Langer, who won the Masters twice, was standing in line at a polling place near his home in Florida when an official told him he would not be allowed to vote, Trump reportedly recounted. The president said that "ahead of and behind Mr. Langer were voters who did not look as if they should be allowed to vote," the Times reports, "but they were nonetheless permitted to cast provisional ballots. The president threw out the names of Latin American countries that the voters might have come from." Trump said Langer was "frustrated," and after Trump was greeted with silence, his chief of staff, Reince Priebus, and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) moved the conversation along, the staffers said.

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Langer's daughter tells a different story. Her father was born in Bavaria and has permanent residence status, making him ineligible to vote in the U.S. "He is a citizen of Germany," Christina Langer told The Times. "He is not a friend of President Trump's, and I don't know why he would talk about him." A senior White House staffer tried to clarify, telling The Times that Langer saw Trump over Thanksgiving and told him a story about his own friend being blocked from voting, and that is what made a major impact on Trump. Which all sounds like a game of "telephone" gone very, very bad.

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