The Democratic chairwoman of the Federal Election Commission said Monday that President Donald Trump “undermines people’s faith” in the election system through his repeated claim that voter fraud cost him New Hampshire in 2016.
“To be suggesting to people … that if the candidate they choose doesn’t win that it is because of fraud, that undermines our democracy. It undermines people’s faith, and once that faith is broken, it is very hard to build up again,” Ellen Weintraub told CNN’s John Berman on “New Day.”
“Facts matter, and people of America need to be able to believe what their leaders tell them. It is damaging to our democracy to spread information that … is baseless,” she said.
Last week, Weintraub, who has frequently criticized Trump’s voter fraud claims, wrote the President asking him to provide evidence of the voter fraud he insists caused him to lose the New Hampshire state three years ago. The letter came a day after Trump complained to reporters – and to his supporters at a rally in Manchester, New Hampshire – that he had narrowly lost the Granite State because of fraudulent voting, a claim for which there is no evidence. Trump beat his Republican rivals in the New Hampshire primary in 2016 but lost the state’s four electoral votes to Democrat Hillary Clinton that November by fewer than 3,000 votes.
On Sunday, Trump repeated his voter fraud allegations, saying the now-disbanded commission he set up to investigate election integrity that did not find evidence of widespread voter fraud was stonewalled by “California and other states.”
Forty-four states and the District of Columbia – including California – refused to provide certain types of voter information to the election integrity commission, according to a CNN inquiry to all 50 states in July 2017.
“And the reason they weren’t giving up information is because they were guilty. They were guilty of it. And they know they’re guilty of it. Many, many people voted that shouldn’t have been voted. Some people voted many times,” he told reporters on a tarmac in New Jersey before boarding Air Force One to return to Washington.
Weintraub said during her “New Day” interview that she has not yet heard back from the White House about her letter and that should the President provide proof of his claims, “then really we need to be taking action about that.”
The FEC chairmanship is a one-year position that rotates among commission members. The six-member commission, which currently has two vacancies, often deadlocks along partisan lines on major enforcement questions.
Weintraub has used her position at the helm of the commission this year to challenge Trump’s assertions. In June, she warned that it was “illegal for any person to solicit, accept or receive anything of value” from a foreigner in connection with a US election, after Trump said he would listen to a foreign government’s offer of dirt on a political rival.
CNN’s Fredreka Schouten and Clare Foran contributed to this report.