An embattled and increasingly defensive President Trump took to Twitter this morning and returned to his old tricks, tweeting out absurd conspiracy theories based on something he saw on television.
His chosen subject for Holocaust Memorial Day turned out to be illegal immigration and voter fraud, a favorite subject of his since it conveniently provides an exculpatory explanation for why he lost the popular vote by three million votes and why Republicans have been pummeled with electoral losses since his election — and conveniently paints illegal immigrants as the culprits.
58,000 non-citizens voted in Texas, with 95,000 non-citizens registered to vote. These numbers are just the tip of the iceberg. All over the country, especially in California, voter fraud is rampant. Must be stopped. Strong voter ID! @foxandfriends
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 27, 2019
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Of course, this isn’t anywhere close to the truth. What actually happened was that the Texas Secretary of State’s office reviewed the voter rolls and flagged 95,000 voters for citizenship checks. Out of that number, 58,000 have cast a vote at one point or another since 1996.
That means counties may now choose to investigate the eligibility of the individuals who were flagged, which would require them to send a notice asking for proof of citizenship within 30 days, or take no action. By law, the counties aren’t allowed to automatically revoke a voter’s registration without sending out such a notice.
It’s possible that individuals flagged by the state — who provided DPS with documentation that indicated they were authorized to be in the country — could have become naturalized citizens since they obtained their driver’s license or ID card. A spokesman for the secretary of state said officials are “very confident” that the data received from DPS is “current.”
There is no indication that most, or even if any of them, are not actually citizens, merely that the state is looking into to it to make sure everything is in order. For Trump to hold this up as evidence of massive voter fraud is a horrendously irresponsible attack on our democracy and a wild distortion of the truth — but then again, when have we come to expect anything else from him?
Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day, when we honor the millions of lives stolen by Nazi monsters. But no remembrance can be complete without reflecting on our own complicity in the horrors of the Shoah; the conservative men who first coined Trump’s catchphrase “America First” shut our doors to Jewish refugees and left them to their doom.
To see the president mark it by launching xenophobic and racist attacks against immigrants and the democracy we hold dear is a clear sign that those lessons mean absolutely nothing to him.