When President Donald Trump made the baseless claim that he would have also won the popular vote, had it not been for the "millions" of people that illegally voted in the 2016 election, he was relying on a Houston-based watchdog group that's now saying it's short on resources the finish their audit and will be "scaling back its effort to catalogue the fraudulent votes it alleged," according to the Texas Tribune.
Shortly after Trump was elected to office, he tweeted claims — with zero substantive evidence — that he would have won the Electoral College plus the popular vote "if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally." He continued to repeat his assertion even after taking office in January.
Trump said his source of information was Gregg Phillips, a former Texas Health and Human Services Commission official who is now employed with True The Vote, according to the Tribune. Ironically enough, Phillips is registered to vote in three states. The watchdog organization is dedicated to "election integrity" and now claims to be short on the money needed to finish their audit of the 2016 election, the Tribune reported.
"As it stands, we do not have the funding to do what we want to do. We’ve gathered 2016 voter rolls, we’ve gathered information from thousands of [Freedom of Information Act requests], but we’re limited by the lack of resources," the group's founder, Catherine Engelbrecht, said Tuesday in a video message to supporters, according to the Tribune. "Next steps up are for us to sort of pull back on the national audit, and focus on targeted investigations."
The Tribune reported that Phillips "said his team had already verified more than 3 million non-citizen votes" but when pressed for evidence of these claims he said the group was still finalizing their audit. That audit is never going to be finished.
"We knew that this was a project that would take millions, but the major funding commitments haven’t materialized," Engelbrecht said in the video message. The White House did not respond to the announcement made by True The Vote, but issued a statement to the Tribune that said, "President Trump has expressed concerns regarding possible voter fraud and he wants to ensure that the integrity of all elections, which are the cornerstone of our democracy, is preserved."
It's interesting that Trump is interested in ensuring "the integrity of all elections" but has repeatedly thrown obstacles in the way of the ongoing investigation into alleged Russian interference. It's also interesting that Trump claims to be so concerned with the integrity of elections when the Republican Party for years has enacted controversial gerrymandering tactics and has embarked on a long crusade of suppressing the votes of people of color with strict voting legislation.