President Donald Trump went postal on Twitter Monday morning over the threat he claims mailed ballots pose to the integrity of U.S. elections—but his family seems to have never gotten the message.
The commander in chief fired off another social media fusillade against the practice of submitting ballots through the post, which he has previously labeled “horrible,” “terrible,” and “corrupt,” as well as “dangerous,” “fraudulent,” and for “cheaters.” The tweet on Monday, like his prior statements, reflected his fears over the expansion of vote-by-mail policies in several states amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“RIGGED 2020 ELECTION: MILLIONS OF MAIL-IN BALLOTS WILL BE PRINTED BY FOREIGN COUNTRIES, AND OTHERS. IT WILL BE THE SCANDAL OF OUR TIMES!” Trump tweeted in all-capital letters.
But such fears have apparently never deterred either Trump himself or members of the First Family from entrusting their suffrage to the U.S. Postal Service. The White House has acknowledged the president mailed in ballots in New York in 2018 and in Florida this year, and the Orlando Sun-Sentinel reported that First Lady Melania Trump had recently also taken advantage of the Sunshine State’s remote voting program.
On reviewing records from the Manhattan Board of Elections, The Daily Beast discovered that Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, and the First Lady all had ballots mailed to them in Washington, D.C. as recently as the 2018 election cycle, and have done so since decamping to the capital three years ago. Eric Trump, who remains in New York, similarly exercised his franchise via envelope and stamp in 2017.
Various errors—from the First Lady’s forgetting to sign the crucial affidavit, to the First Daughter’s sending her ballot back too late, to Kushner’s failure to mail it back at all—prevented the Washington-based wing of the family’s votes from counting in 2017. But the Board of Elections documents show they all successfully returned their votes in the most recent election cycle.
Neither Eric Trump nor the White House immediately provided an on-the-record response. The president and White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who the Tampa Bay Times found has voted by mail 11 times in the past decade, have sought to distinguish between absentee voting and “mass mail-in voting.”
But experts assert there is little difference between the two processes, which are both already widespread. Records show nearly 67,000 people besides the Trumps sent in absentee ballots in the 2018 general election in New York City, while the Wall Street Journal reported that more than 33 million people voted by mail in the 2016 presidential race.
The president’s spokeswoman and immediate family aren’t the only executive branch staff taking advantage of the system: Business Insider reported Vice President Mike Pence and his wife voted via mail as recently as April.
Monday’s rant marked the first time that the president has warned that hostile nations might dabble in the American mailstream. In the past, he has largely warned that blue states might refuse to send ballots to GOP-controlled districts, and claimed that U.S.-based fraudsters resort to outright robbery.
“They steal them, they hold up mailmen, they take them out of mailboxes, they print them fraudulently,” the president told radio host Michael Savage earlier this month.