Donald Trump’s claim that he lost the popular vote because “millions of people” voted illegally has been debunked, but some of his supporters are sticking by it.
Longtime Trump supporter Paula Johnson told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota that at her polling station in Nashua, New Hampshire, she caught people voting illegally who told her: “The president said I could vote, I’m here illegally.”
Camerota asked Johnson where she heard that President Barack Obama said undocumented immigrants could vote.
“Google it,” another Trump supporter, Susan DeLemus, said. “You can find it on Facebook.”
Camerota pulled out her phone to look for herself, eventually finding a video that had been deceptively edited.
“He had said nothing of the sort when you go back to the transcript,” she said.
The claim had been disproven, but Johnson was steadfast in her opinion, concluding: “I believe there is voter fraud in this country.”
Three of the panelists that CNN spoke to have experience in politics. John Hikel and Johnson are former New Hampshire state representatives and Delemus is one of 400 part-time members of the New Hampshire House of representatives. Delemus’ term ends Tuesday. Johnson was also a convention delegate for Trump’s campaign and Delemus was an alternative.
Donald Trump’s loyal supporters
Trump’s supporters can best be described as loyal.
So when Camerota met with a group of Trump voters who she had spoken with throughout the campaign, it was not surprising to hear that he still has their unwavering support. That held true when they were asked about his new position advocating punishment for those who burn the American flag or picking former Wall Street executives to join his administration despite his campaign rhetoric.
The panel first spoke to CNN last year, before Trump had even won the primary. Frustrated by the current state of the government, DeLemus told Camerota that she does not believe anything a single politician says, but she does believe Trump.
“He says what I’m thinking,” she had said. “He is resonating with the people and he’s speaking our minds.”
Nearly a year later, this group is thrilled (but not surprised) that Trump defeated Clinton, and they are sticking by him.
On Trump’s administration picks
Johnson spoke out last year against Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, saying it was “time to get rid of him.”
She’s singing a new tune these days, sort of, now that he’s Trump’s chief of staff. Johnson told Camerota that while she still doesn’t like him, he’s a good choice because he knows how to work with the Republicans so he’ll keep them in check.
The voters are supportive of Trump’s other controversial picks, too. Toni DiBartolo said that despite Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn’s inflammatory comments about Muslims, she believes he will give the President-elect sound advice.
As for Steve Bannon, Johnson said she would not be concerned if he turned out to be a white nationalist, as some have alleged.
On Trump’s proposed penalties for burning the flag
The voters agree that people who burn the American flag should go to jail, as Trump suggested in a tweet. However, instead of losing citizenship, Paul DiBartolo suggested community service.
The conversation took a quick turn to immigration, with Johnson claiming that illegal immigrants are burning the flag, but not being arrested or deported.
“I can’t wait for the wall to be built,” she said.
This story has been updated.