Trump wrongly believed Native Americans were getting paid to vote against him
Indigenous-rooted conspiracy theory tied to the 2020 election was 'false,' according to top Justice officials.
WASHINGTON — Former President Donald Trump believed that alleged irregularities involving the Native American vote negatively impacted his race against President Joe Biden in the presidential election of November 2020.
That claim was debunked during the second January 6 Capitol insurrection-focused hearing of the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee in taped testimony by former acting U.S. Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue.
The former U.S. Justice Department official said that the former president pressed him and other Justice officials about the Indigenous vote in an effort to address perceived election irregularities that Trump believed hurt him.
Trump reportedly said that American Indians were receiving cash in exchange for voting for Biden and/or wanted the U.S. Department of Justice to find evidence of it.
“He said dead people are voting, Indians are getting paid to vote — he meant people on Native American reservations,” Donoghue testified. “He said, ‘There’s lots of fraud going on here.’”
“We told him flat out that much of the information he’s getting is false and/or just not supported by the evidence,” Donoghue continued. “We look at the allegations, but they don’t pan out.”
Even once Justice debunked Trump’s claim, he kept repeating it.
"Indians getting paid to vote in certain states, including Arizona and Nevada, getting paid to vote," Trump said at a June 2021 rally five months after Biden became president. "You’re not allowed to get paid to vote."
Trump’s idea has congruency with another incorrect trope regarding American Indians widely rooted in American culture — that they do not pay taxes. They do, in fact, pay taxes, but many people do not believe it to be true.
Like that tax fallacy, Trump’s beliefs on American Indians getting paid to vote appear to be incorrect.
American Indians have largely voted Democratic in recent presidential elections — and Trump was unpopular with many tribes and tribal citizens due to his past anti-Indian views — so the former president’s beliefs here are perplexing for additional reasons.
He did do well with some tribes, like the Lumbee of North Carolina, but overall he did poorly on the most populous reservations in states he needed to win to be victorious, including those in Arizona and in Wisconsin and Michigan.
American Indian voting advocates on both sides of the aisle expect the Native vote to matter in several tightly forecasted midterm elections this year.
Indigenous Wire is a Native-owned, reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support our work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.