Mark Meadows falsely claims Biden’s 81 million votes in the 2020 election don’t represent ‘a real number’

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows speaks with reporters at the White House, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, in Washington.
Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows speaks with reporters at the White House, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, in Washington.
  • Mark Meadows baselessly claimed in his memoir that Biden's 81 million votes in the 2020 election don't constitute "a real number."
  • He parroted Trump's broad and unspecified claims that the election was rigged and stolen.
  • Meadows repeatedly pressured state and national officials to investigate conspiracy theories after the election.

Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows claimed without evidence in his new memoir that the confirmed number of popular votes President Joe Biden received in the 2020 election doesn't represent "a real number."

Since last year's election, Meadows has pushed unfounded conspiracy theories that the election was illegally "rigged" and stolen from Trump. Biden's 81 million votes is "not a real number, and they knew it," he wrote in his memoir, referring to members of the media and political establishment. And he claimed, without evidence, that the media and Democrats "stopped talking about" Biden's vote total because it was made up.

"The Fake News also touted, for about ten seconds, the fact that Joe Biden, a candidate with all the charisma of an old, rusty coin collection, had (supposedly) managed to rack up 81 million votes, more than any candidate in the history of American politics," Meadows wrote. "Then, in what seemed like the blink of an eye, they stopped talking about it. I have a suspicion this if that number were real, you wouldn't have been able to open a newspaper without seeing it."

He concluded, "It was one thing for them to rig the election and get away with it, but even for them, bragging about the theft would be a bridge too far."

Last year, Biden won the most votes of any candidate in US history — about 15 million more votes than Hillary Clinton won in 2016. Trump also grew his voter base, expanding his vote total from 63 million votes in 2016 to 74 million in 2020. 

Meadows repeatedly pointed to enthusiasm at Trump rallies, and a perceived lack of enthusiasm at Biden's limited events, as evidence that Biden couldn't have broken vote-total records. 

The former chief of staff's grievances echoed much of what he said about the election results while serving in the White House, even though none of the claims have been borne out by any factual evidence. The Trump campaign filed dozens of lawsuits contesting the results, nearly all of which were rejected or tossed out of courts across the country, including by the Supreme Court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority and three Trump-appointed justices.

Meadows also repeatedly pressured federal agencies like the Justice Department and the FBI to look into baseless conspiracy theories, including that China hacked into US voting machines and thermostats to alter the election results, and that people in Italy used military satellites to tamper with votes.

One top Justice Department official described the latter request as "pure insanity," to which the acting attorney general replied, "Can you believe this? I am not going to respond to the message below."

Meadows also pressed state and national officials to look into what the Trump camp believed were election inconsistencies in Georgia. In one instance recently reported by CNN, Meadows texted Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger and asked him to look into the claims. But "staffers were unsure if the message was real as they were getting inundated with calls and emails from people angry about the election results," CNN said, so they ignored the message.

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