During her first press briefing in weeks, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders claimed on Monday that President Trump won the 2016 election by an “overwhelming majority of 63 million” votes — despite the fact that he lost the popular vote to his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, by almost three million votes.
Sander’s made the false claim while delivering an impassioned defense of the president, claiming that he bore no responsibility for a wave of violence over the past week across the United States.
“You guys have a huge responsibility to play in the divisive nature of this country, when 90 percent of the coverage of everything this president does is negative despite the fact that the country is going extremely well, despite the fact that this president is delivering on exactly what he said he was going to do if elected. And he was elected by the overwhelming majority of 63 million Americans who came out and supported him and wanted to see his policies enacted,” Sanders said, incorrectly.
Sarah Sanders says Trump was elected by "an overwhelming majority of 63 million Americans."
For those playing along at home, Trump's opponent got nearly 66 million votes — in other words, a majority. pic.twitter.com/DW1QdauJlu
— Robert Maguire (@RobertMaguire_) October 29, 2018
Trump did win the electoral college, which determines the presidency, with 304 electoral votes compared to Clinton’s 227.
Trump has repeated the same falsehood, claiming that he won the popular vote “if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.”
Several journalists and commentators took to social media to fact-check Sanders’s claim:
Sarah Sanders says the president got elected by an overwhelming majority of 63 million Americans. He lost the popular vote by three million.
— Josh Dawsey (@jdawsey1) October 29, 2018
Sarah Sanders just said that Trump got elected by an overwhelming majority of 63 million Americans.
Hillary Clinton got 2.9 million more votes in that election.
— Chris Cillizza (@CillizzaCNN) October 29, 2018
.@PressSec: Trump in 2016 won an "overwhelming majority of 63 million Americans."
Hillary got 65.8 million.
— Seung Min Kim (@seungminkim) October 29, 2018