FACT CHECK: Did Trump Earn An ‘Overwhelming Majority’ Of The Vote In 2016?

Emily Larsen | Fact Check Reporter

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday that President Donald Trump got elected by an “overwhelming majority of 63 million Americans” in 2016.

Verdict: False

Although Trump won the electoral college by a sizable margin, he lost the popular vote to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Both received less than 50 percent of the popular vote.

Fact Check:

Sanders mentioned the number of people who voted for Trump in 2016 while criticizing how the press has reacted to the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh Saturday that left 11 people dead.

“The very first thing that the president did was condemn the attacker, and the very first thing the media did was blame the president. You guys have a huge responsibility to play in the divisive nature of this country,” Sanders said at a White House press briefing. “When 90 percent of the coverage of everything this president does is negative despite the fact that the country is doing extremely well, despite the fact that the president is delivering on exactly what he said he was going to do if elected. And he got elected by an overwhelming majority of 63 million Americans who came out and supported him and wanted to see his policies enacted.”

While Trump did get elected with a majority of Electoral College votes, he did not win a majority or a plurality of the national popular vote.

The Federal Election Commission’s official results for the general election show that Trump received 63 million, or 46.1 percent, of the 136.7 million votes cast in the 2016 presidential election. Clinton earned 2.9 million more votes than Trump, winning the national popular vote.

No candidate won a majority of the vote in the 2016 presidential election. There were 65.9 million votes cast for Clinton, which amounted to 48.2 percent of the popular vote.

Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson earned 3.3 percent with 4.5 million votes, and Green Party candidate Jill Stein got 1.1 percent with 1.5 million votes. About 1.9 million votes went to other third-party and write-in candidates, accounting for the remaining 1.4 percent of the popular vote.

Despite losing the popular vote, Trump won the election due to the Electoral College system. Trump won 30 states and one district in Maine worth a total of 306 pledged votes, while Clinton won 20 states, the District of Columbia and a district in Maine worth a total of 232 pledged votes. But seven “faithless electors” cast their ballots for other candidates, resulting in a final tally of 304 electoral votes for Trump and 227 for Clinton.

The White House did not respond to a request for comment.

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Emily Larsen

Fact Check Reporter

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