On Wednesday, The New York Times reported that US President Donald Trump had repeated an anecdote involving German two-time Masters champion Bernhard Langer, in order to back up his unfounded claim that between three and five million votes were illegally cast by non-citizens in the election. The story was told during a bipartisan luncheon on Monday.
According to the report, Trump claimed the “very famous golfer” had told the US President that while standing in line at a polling place on election day, he was informed by an official that he would not be able to vote.
Langer was then said to have seen others in line who looked like they should not be allowed to vote, but were still able to do so. Trump then offered up names of Latin American countries where the other voters may have come from, the report said.
Trump also reportedly described Langer as a friend and a supporter.
But Langer’s daughter told the Times that her father is a German citizen and therefore unable to vote. She also said that her father was not a friend of Trump’s and she didn’t know “why he would talk about him”.
A White House staff member told the Times that Langer had seen Trump in Florida and told him the story of a friend who had been blocked from voting.
Bavarian broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk speculated that the “latent racism” of stating that certain people did not look like they should have been able to vote had probably come from Trump.
On Wednesday, Trump pledged that he would launch a “major investigation” into voter fraud. He is seeking to prove his previous claim that had it not been for non-citizens illegally voting, he would have won the popular vote over Hillary Clinton.
So far there has been no evidence of such widespread illegal voting, according to researchers and election officials.
The 59-year-old Langer was born in a small town in Bavaria called Anhausen, and since his international sports career took off, he has moved to live with his American wife in Boca Raton, Florida - about a half an hour drive away from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach.