Before his Election Day victory, President-elect often Donald Trump warned his supporters at rallies to be vigilant at polls and to "watch out" — presumably for voter fraud.
Leading up to Nov. 8, Trump would allude to the very rare possibility of actual voter fraud — implying if he were to lose, that would be the cause.
As news of Hillary Clinton's popular vote lead began to surface, Trump claimed millions of people voted illegally so as to justify his loss of the popular vote. However, he did not offer any evidence.
"In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally," Trump tweeted Nov. 27.
Trump continued with a two-part tweet: "It would have been much easier for me to win the so-called popular vote than the Electoral College in that I would not campaign in three or four states instead of 15 states that I visited. I would have won even more easily and convincingly (but smaller states are forgotten)!"
Trump concluded with alleging "serious" voter fraud in three states:
In light of Trump's tweets, CNN's Jeff Zeleny reported that no evidence supported Trump's assertion of voter fraud. Soon after, Trump lashed out at Zeleny with a series of aggressive retweets, retweeting users calling on the journalist to do his job.
Trump also added, "CNN is so embarrassed by their total (100%) support of Hillary Clinton, and yet her loss in a landslide, that they don't know what to do."
Trump's assertion of voter fraud in California, New Hampshire and Virginia ignited widespread rejection from officials in those states. "Virginia's election was well-administered by our 133 professional local registrars. ... The election was fair and all votes cast by eligible voters were accurately counted," Virginia Commissioner of Elections Edgardo Cortés told Fox News.
The same source cited California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, who tweeted that Trump's allegations of voter fraud were "absurd."
Meanwhile, the Boston Globe reported that former New Hampshire Attorney General Thomas D. Rath tweeted, "This will probably cost me my spot in the Cabinet but there was no fraud, serious or other, in this election in NH. There just wasn't."
Trump also aimed his anger at Green Party leader Jill Stein, who was leading recount efforts in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania in late November. Trump called her initiative a "scam to fill up the coffers by asking for impossible recounts." He also chided Clinton for joining the recount call.
"The Democrats, when they incorrectly thought they were going to win, asked that the election night tabulation be accepted. Not so anymore!" Trump tweeted.
When he learned that the state of Michigan reconfirmed his victory, he tweeted: "The Great State of Michigan was just certified as a Trump WIN giving all of our MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN supporters another victory - 306!"
CNN reported Monday that Stein would continue in her recount efforts in Pennsylvania through a federal lawsuit.
While some people believe in Trump's theory, others have had enough of his lies. On Sunday, ABC's This Week host George Stephanopoulos had invited Vice President-elect Mike Pence on his show and Pence vehemently defended Trump, saying Trump has the "right to defend to express his opinion." Stephanopoulos, on the other hand, called Trump's statements "groundless."
It's no secret that Republicans have sold the idea of voter fraud across the country. As Mark Joseph Stern of Slate writes, draconian voter ID laws, early voting cut and other measures allowing the unfounded disqualification of absentee ballots have become the norm in states such as Wisconsin, North Carolina and Texas, where Republicans have control of the government.