"In many places the same person in California votes many times," Trump said during a roundtable discussion on tax reform in West Virginia. "They always like to say, 'Oh, that's a conspiracy theory.' It's not a conspiracy theory. Millions and millions of people, and it's very hard because the state guards their records."
California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, a Democrat, responded to Trump's assertion in a statement dismissing the President as "a conspiracy theorist."
"His dishonesty and his rants dishonor the thousands of local elections officials and volunteers who work hard to administer our elections with integrity," the statement said. "Trump was even forced to dissolve his sham election commission, which was a waste of taxpayer dollars and failed to provide a shred of evidence to support his voter fraud lies."
It's far from the first time Trump has made such a claim. After winning the Electoral College but losing the popular vote, Trump claimed
that he would have won the popular vote as well "if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally."
Repeated studies have found no evidence for the claim that widespread voter fraud takes place in the United States, as shown by a collection of research provided by the Brennan Center for Justice
at New York University Law School.
The White House has not provided evidence of widespread voter fraud, and after Trump's repeated claims that his own victory was marred by massive numbers of illegal votes against him, he set up a commission to investigate the issue last year.
The commission, led by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, was ultimately shut down
in early January after heavy criticism from Democrats and without publishing evidence of mass voter fraud.
As he dissolved the commission, Trump tweeted that Democratic state governments refused to turn over data to the voter fraud commission and declared the system "rigged."