The White House claimed Donald Trump was 'unable to cast his vote' in Florida because he was stuck in Washington — but evidence shows otherwise.
Both Donald Trump and White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany have given explanations for why Trump, who has loudly denounced voting by mail, voted absentee in the 2020 Florida primary. Both claim it was because he was unable to vote in person.
However, evidence shows that McEnany and Trump were not telling the truth.
At a White House briefing on Wednesday, McEnany said Trump "is, after all, the president which means he's here in Washington. He's unable to cast his vote down in Florida, his state of residence."
On April 7, Trump had made a similar claim when he was asked why he voted absentee in the Florida primary in March: "Because I'm allowed to. Well, that’s called 'out of state.' You know, why I voted? Because I happen to be in the White House and I won't be able to go to Florida to vote."
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported on Wednesday that Trump was at his Florida golf club on March 7 and 8, located "across the street from a library where early voting was offered from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m." on both those days.
Photos and video reveal that Trump played golf on both of those days.
The Hill tweeted a video of Trump golfing at Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach on Saturday, March 7.
And USA Today noted that Patrick Corbin, a player for the Washington Nationals baseball team, posted a photo on Instagram of Trump golfing with him and some of his teammates on Sunday, March 8.
The White House did not respond to a request for comment on why Trump was able to golf in Florida during the state's early-voting period but not able to cast a vote in person.
By the end of 2019, Trump had spent about a third of his presidency at Trump-branded properties and millions of taxpayer-funded dollars playing hundreds of rounds of golf, despite pledging on the campaign trail that "because I'm going to be working for you, I'm not going to have time to go play golf."
Trump and many Republican officials have falsely claimed that absentee voting leads to increased voter fraud, and have used those claims to push back against Democratic efforts to make voting safer amid the coronavirus crisis.
At the same April 7 press conference at which Trump lied about being unable to vote in Florida, he also falsely claimed, "You can look at the statistics — there's a lot of dishonesty going along with mail-in voting." He said that absentee voting "is a terrible thing," adding, "I think if you vote, you should go."
On Wednesday, Trump threatened to withhold federal funding from the election battleground states of Michigan and Nevada because state officials were moving to make absentee voting easier during the pandemic.
In Texas, Attorney General Ken Paxton recently claimed without evidence that broadening absentee voting "damages the integrity of our elections and increases the risk of voter fraud."
There is no data to back up these claims.
In fact, "states that use vote-by-mail have encountered essentially zero fraud: Oregon, the pioneer in this area, has sent out more than 100 million mail-in ballots since 2000, and has documented only about a dozen cases of proven fraud," according to the New York Times.
The Brennan Center for Justice reported that "it is still more likely for an American to be struck by lightning than to commit mail voting fraud."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.