Let's watch Republicans feign ignorance about Donald Trump's bogus voter fraud claims

VP-elect Mike Pence said it's Trump's right to tweet falsehoods, while Paul Ryan has "no knowledge of such things"

Published December 5, 2016 2:34PM (EST)

Vice President-elect Mike Pence found himself in the hot seat on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday, as host George Stephanopoulos grilled the vice president-elect about his running mate's bogus claims of voter fraud:

"That claim is groundless. There's no evidence to back it up," Stephanopoulos said. "Is it responsible for a president-elect to make false statements like that?"

Pence cited a 2012 Pew Research study that — well short of suggesting widespread voter fraud — found 1 in every 8 voter registrations to be invalid. Stephanopoulos quickly countered, explaining that "the author of this . . . has said it is not any evidence about what happened in this election or any evidence of voter fraud."

"What is historic here is that our president-elect won 30 to 50 states," Pence tried to change the subject, "he won more counties than any candidate on our side since Ronald Reagan." Forced to return to the false claim, he argued that Pew's findings gave Donald Trump the precedent to claim "millions of people . . . voted illegally."

"It's his right to make false statements?" Stephanopoulos pressed.

"I think one of the things that's refreshing about our president-elect and one of the reasons why I think he made such an incredible connection with people all across this country is because he tells you what's on his mind," Pence said.

Let's see what other top Republicans have had to say:

"I think the president-elect is someone who has pushed the envelope and caused people to think in this country," the RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said on CBS' "Face the Nation" on Sunday. "He’s not taking conventional thought on every single issue, and has caused people to look at things that maybe they’ve taken for granted."

Asked on "60 Minutes" on Sunday if he believes Trump's claims, House Speaker Paul Ryan said, "I don't know. I'm not really focused on these things."

"I have no way of backing that up," he added. "I have no knowledge of such things. . . It doesn't matter to me. He won the election."

By Brendan Gauthier

Brendan Gauthier is a freelance writer.

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Donald Trump Mike Pence Paul Ryan Reince Priebus Twitter Voter Fraud