White House senior adviser Stephen Miller spewed some mistruths Friday, calling mail-in ballots a “catastrophic problem” as he tried to justify fresh attempts by President Donald Trump to sow doubt about the legitimacy of an election that polls have consistently shown does not favor him.
“The President brought attention to catastrophic problem of universal mail-in ballots,” Miller told “Fox & Friends” on Friday morning.
“Nobody who mails in a ballot has their identity confirmed, nobody checks to see if they are even a U.S. Citizen,” Miller added, warning that voter fraud could be “happening on a scale of potentially millions of people.”
But Miller’s claims just aren’t true. While some states require copies of identification to be sent along with ballots, others require that an elections officials compares the signature on the identification envelope to the one found on the elector’s voter registration or other another form in the voter’s registration record. Driver’s license numbers and partial Social Security numbers, are also often used checked voter registration system data.
Miller’s baseless remarks follow an explosive tweet that the President unleashed on Thursday, floating the idea of delaying the November presidential election. The tweet continued a months-long tirade by the President against what he has warned would be a “fraudulent” election if there is widespread mail-in voting amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The tweet was tactical in its distraction from the growing reality that the President has thus far failed to shore up dwindling support from his base — even stepping up his racist rhetoric in a tweet midweek in an appeal to suburban voters. The President’s messaging about election rigging has also pulled attention away from his failures to curb the spread of the coronavirus in the United States, which has killed at least 152,000 people across the country.
The tweet proposing the delay also overlapped with a damning report just about half an hour earlier from the Commerce Department announcing that the American economy took its worst quarterly plunge ever — shrinking at a 33% annual rate in its most recent quarter. Trump has often patted himself on the back by telling reporters that his administration has “done more” than that of any of his predecessors, especially on matters of the economy.
“We’re going to have a great third quarter,” Trump told WRAL on Monday before the report was released later in the week.
While in a press briefing later on Thursday the President tried to walk back the tweet, he seized on the opportunity to expand on an angle that only thinly veils his own anxieties about losing — that a win for Joe Biden will be illegitimate.