President Donald Trump wrote a Twitter post Saturday aimed at state officials state resisting a broad request for data by his voter-fraud commission, including officials from deeply Republican states whose support the controversy-laden White House can ill afford to lose.
“What are they trying to hide?” Trump wrote of officials from states that have questioned the panel’s request. Indiana, home of Vice President Mike Pence, and Mississippi, a state that voted overwhelmingly for Trump last year, are among those states.
Trump’s taunt may have been meant to counter a backlash that could effectively scuttle much of the work of Presidential Advisory Commission on Voter Integrity before it begins. Members of the commission said they planned to compare the state records to databases of undocumented immigrants and legal foreigners to determine if large numbers of unqualified voters are participating in U.S. elections.
Deploying sometimes colorful language, state officials have called the panel’s request for data that includes partial Social Security numbers inappropriate, and said they wouldn’t comply or would provide only information that was already publicly available.
While the data request resonates with long-held Republican claims of illegal voting, the commission —and by extension, the White House – is on what usually sympathetic state officials say is the wrong side of the issue of states’ rights.