Whenever anyone vows to “tell it like it is,” you can pretty much count on hearing a racist rant. That’s essentially what happened at what was ostensibly a tax reform roundtable event held in West Virginia on Thursday where President Trump made a show of tossing out his prepared remarks and commenced an impromptu rally where he lied about rape and voter fraud.
“I’m reading off the first paragraph, I said, ‘This is boring,'” President Trump said as he literally threw his written remarks from the podium, to thunderous applause. “‘Come on. We have to tell it like it is.’”
Things went downhill as the president revived a false claim he made while announcing his candidacy in 2015 about Mexican immigrants being rapists and pushed conspiracy theories about voter fraud, which was seemingly inspired by a caravan of Central American refugees hoping to find asylum in Mexico and the U.S.
“In many places, like California, the same person votes many times. You probably heard about that,” Trump said, despite the numerous studies proving that instances of voter fraud are extremely rare. “They always like to say, ‘Oh, that’s a conspiracy theory.’ Not a conspiracy theory, folks. Millions and millions of people. And it’s very hard because the state guards their records. They don’t want us [to see them].”
Trump dissolved the commission he assembled to suss out all this supposedly rampant voter fraud in January after, as the New York Times put it, “no state has uncovered significant evidence to support the president’s claim, and election officials, including many Republicans, have strongly rejected it.”
The president also embarked on a screed about immigrants, crime, and sexual assault, which like the voter fraud claims, were objectively and demonstrably false. From ABC News:
“Remember my opening remarks at Trump Tower when I opened? Everybody said, ‘Oh, he was so tough,’ and I used the word rape,” he said. “And yesterday it came out where this journey coming up, women are raped at levels that nobody has ever seen before. They don’t want to mention that.”
It was not clear what Trump was referring to. White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said Trump wasn’t talking about the caravan but rather about extreme victimization of those making the journey north with smugglers in general.
Despite his claim that “yesterday it came out,” there are no reports of sexual violence within the caravan of refugees. As the Washington Post points out, the only mentions of rape in regard to the caravan refers to violence the refugees are trying to flee.
BuzzFeed News reporter Adolfo Flores has been covering the caravan and tweeted that he was completely confounded by the president’s claim.
Trump, on the other hand, has been accused of sexual harassment or assault by 19 women.
The President also boasted about the tax reform legislation he signed late last year, but that was, for good reason, overshadowed by his other talking points