President Trump on Thursday launched a long-promised commission on “election integrity,” rekindling a controversy over the prevalence of voter fraud at U.S. polls. The commission, established by executive order, is the upshot of Trump’s unsubstantiated claim shortly after taking office that more than 3 million undocumented immigrants illegally voted in November’s election. White House aides said the scope of the commission, chaired by Vice President Pence, will reach beyond allegations of voter fraud to include voter suppression and other suspect election practices, and would include members of both major political parties.
“The president’s committed to the thorough review of registration and voting issues in federal elections,” White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Thursday. “And that’s exactly what this commission is tasked with doing.”
But that did little to quell criticism from many of the same parties who lambasted Trump for his January claims. Voting rights groups and several prominent Democrats charged Thursday that Trump’s commission was both unnecessary — calling claims of voter fraud wildly overblown — and an attempt to divert attention from his firing of FBI Director James B. Comey.