Fox & Friends inspires Trump to lie about voting

Trump’s posts to Twitter and Facebook could end up suppressing the vote this November

Fox & Friends, President Donald Trump’s favorite morning TV show, hosted the founder of a conservative election monitoring non-profit to discuss the danger of alleged widespread fraud in mail-in voting. Within half an hour, Trump amplified her organization’s Twitter account, casting doubt upon the integrity of the upcoming election. 

On September 17, Fox & Friends hosted Catherine Engelbrecht, the founder of True The Vote, a conservative election monitoring non-profit that claims its fighting against “radicalized leftist organizations … exploiting the weaknesses of our electoral process.” Engelbrecht said that the recently discovered 1,666 New Jersey ballots which were accidentally left uncounted in the state’s July 7 primary election were evidence of “engineered chaos” and “part of a plan to open up legal battlefields nationwide.” Engelbrecht later said that we might not have “a legitimate outcome [for the 2020 election] for a very very long time, if at all” because “there is an orchestrated effort” to cause “confusion.”

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Citation From the September 17, 2020, edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends

AINSLEY EARHARDT (CO-HOST): It's hard to trust that if we mail at home -- if we vote at home and then we put it in the mail that it's actually going to be counted. Tell us what's happening in New Jersey. It didn't change the election. They counted those 1600, it didn't change the election, but how do we know there’s not another box of unaccounted for ballots somewhere else? 

CATHERINE ENGELBRECHT (TRUE THE VOTE): We don't. We don't, unless we get citizen eyes on this process. What we’re seeing play out is, in our opinion, engineered chaos. This is part of a plan to open up legal battlefields nationwide. It is imperative that citizens stand up and get involved in this process now so that we can get eyes on and have a election that is decided by the people and not by the courts.

ENGELBRECHT: This is why we did the infomercial, because there is an orchestrated effort to cause this kind of confusion, and citizens have to take a stand now or we're not going to have a legitimate outcome for a very, very long time if at all.

Approximately 20 minutes later, President Donald Trump promoted Engelbrecht’s organization on Twitter, declaring that “the new and unprecedented massive amount of unsolicited ballots” means “the Nov 3rd Election result may NEVER BE ACCURATELY DETERMINED, which is what some want.” He shared the same message on Facebook. There is no evidence that “some” want an inaccurate 2020 election result, and there is no evidence that universal mail-in voting will be used to perpetuate widespread fraud.

CNN's Marshall Cohen pointed out that Trump's false tweet may be in violation of Twitter's rules against election misinformation.

Conservative media have overhyped warnings of voter fraud for years, a rare crime frequently presented as a constant threat to election integrity. Fraud is also rare with mail-in voting, which is being considered by more Americans than ever before due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the face of these facts, such reckless warnings of fraud fuel voter suppression. As more people consider mailing in their ballots, Fox News is again amplifying exaggerated, baseless, or completely false claims or warnings of fraud, straight from the TV to the president’s desk.

This new effort from Fox & Friends, True the Vote, and Trump comes hours after Trump's own former Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats warned in The New York Times that: “Our democracy’s enemies, foreign and domestic, want us to concede in advance that our voting systems are faulty or fraudulent; that sinister conspiracies have distorted the political will of the people; that our public discourse has been perverted by the news media and social networks riddled with prejudice, lies and ill will; that judicial institutions, law enforcement and even national security have been twisted, misused and misdirected to create anxiety and conflict, not justice and social peace.”