Still smarting from the response to the indictments of 13 Russians over meddling in the 2016 election, President Donald Trump took to Twitter Tuesday to argue that he’s been tougher on Russia than his predecessor Barack Obama.
In multiple tweets, Trump again argued that Democrats are using the “Russian excuse” because they lost the election, claimed that it would be impossible to rig U.S. elections and cast blame on the Obama Administration for multiple “failures” on Russia, among other things.
Not all of these arguments hold up on closer inspection, however. Here’s a quick look at each of the claims.
There’s a difference between voter fraud and Russian meddling
As he faced low polling numbers in the waning weeks of the 2016 election, Trump repeatedly questioned the legitimacy of the election, arguing that there was “large scale voter fraud” and that the election is “absolutely being rigged by the dishonest and distorted media.”
Both of these claims were baseless, as multiple fact-checkers and news stories attested. They led then-President Obama to push back against what was seen as an effort to undermine the election results in advance.
Speaking at a press conference in the Rose Garden on Oct. 18, Obama advised Trump to “stop whining and go try to make his case to get votes.”
“The larger point I want to emphasize here is that there is no serious person out there who would suggest somehow that you could even — you could even rig America’s elections, in part, because they are so decentralized and the numbers of votes involved,” he said.
Trump attempted to use that quote against Obama on Tuesday, quoting Obama to argue that “the whole game changed” after he won the election and that Democrats are now focusing on Russian meddling to excuse their loss.
This muddies the distinctions between rigging the election and meddling in it, however.
Obama was specifically pushing back against Trump’s assertion that voter fraud would cost him the election — a baseless claim that he repeated even after winning the election. By contrast, nothing in the Russian indictments makes any claims about voter fraud;…