President Donald Trump told a room full of senators on Feb. 9 that he was a victim of voting fraud during the general election.
The president brought up the familiar topic during a meeting with 10 legislators, during which he said that Republican former Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire lost her reelection in the state for the same reason that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton beat him there by 3,000 votes: "thousands" of fraudsters were "brought in on buses" next door from Massachusetts to "illegally" cast ballots in New Hampshire, he said, according to Politico.
At that point, "an uncomfortable silence" filled the room, one person present during the conversation told Politico.
Trump invited the senators to meet with him in an attempt to garner bipartisan support for Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, who will need some Democratic votes to be confirmed to the high court.
Present at the meeting were Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Democratic Sen. Jon Tester of Montana, Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware, Republican Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado.
Also in attendance was Ayotte, who Trump said "would have won" her re-election bid if had she not distanced herself from him during his campaign following controversial remarks that he made about a Muslim Gold Star family. Ayotte, who lost by 743 votes, is now working for Trump as a congressional emissary for Gorsuch.
Since winning the election, the president has spoken frequently about voter fraud and his concerns that millions of people voted illegally in November, drastically changing the outcome of the election.
Some Republican state legislatures, including that of New Hampshire, are joining the president in tightening up voting security measures. Granite State lawmakers have introduced a dozen voting bills that would narrow the definition of who can vote and increase identification laws. Advocates praise those measures as a way to cut down on illegal voting and opponents criticize them as voter disenfranchisement that discourages students from voting, according to The Washington Times.