Trump Promotes Voter ID, Says 'a Lot of People Cheat With Mail-In Voting'

President Donald Trump said on Friday that he rejected the idea of mail-in voting and endorsed the concept of Voter ID, which he referred to as "the real deal."

"I think a lot of people cheat with mail-in voting," Trump said at Friday's coronavirus task force meeting from the White House. "I think people should vote with Voter ID. I think Voter ID is very important, and the reason they don't want Voter ID is because they tend to cheat."

Voter ID laws have been the subject of controversy in the past, with the ACLU calling the concept "discriminatory" against minority voters.

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President Donald Trump endorsed Voter ID on Friday, telling reporters that mail-in voting provides people with an opportunity to "cheat." Win McNamee/Getty

Trump said people should show up to the polls in person and cast their votes after presenting the proper identification.

"You should have a picture for voting," Trump said. "It should be called Voter ID, they should have that. And it shouldn't mail-in voting, it should be you go to a booth and you proudly display yourself."

"You don't send it in the mail, where people pick up all sorts of bad things can happen, by the time they signed that, if they signed that, if they signed that, by the time it gets in and is tabulated, no," Trump continued. "It shouldn't be mailed in, you should vote at the booth, and you should have Voter ID. Because when you have Voter ID, that's the real deal."

After speaking about Voter ID, Trump left the podium as reporters called after him.

With state primaries being postponed and the Democratic National Convention being bumped to August 2020, advocacy groups saw Trump's remarks as not only reckless during the coronavirus pandemic, but as an attempt to suppress voting.

"No one should have to choose between protecting their health and exercising their right to vote. That's why every eligible voter should have the right to vote by mail during the covid-19 pandemic," said director of the ACLU's Voting Rights Project Dale Ho in a statement sent to Newsweek on Friday. "The president's demand that people vote in-person at crowded polling places, by contrast, contravenes the CDC's recommendations on social distancing and puts voters at risk. And his refusal to support the common-sense solution of letting Americans vote by mail is either an expression of profound ignorance about public health realities, or an intentional effort to reduce turnout and suppress the vote."

In a statement sent to Newsweek on Friday, Stand Up America founder and president Sean Eldridge called Trump's remarks "dangerous, wrong, and a blatant attempt to suppress the vote in the middle of a pandemic."

"Vote-by-mail is not about partisanship—it's about allowing every eligible American to safely cast their ballot," Eldridge continued. "Trump wants voters to have to choose between their health and participating in our democracy. Congress must demand better than that and do everything it can to provide states with the resources they need—including at least $2 billion in election assistance funding—to effectively implement vote-by-mail, online registration, and expanded early voting."

Trump told Fox News host Sean Hannity in March that he would not cancel the Republican National Convention scheduled to take place in Charlotte, North Carolina in August.

"We're going to have the convention," Trump said. "It's going to be incredible."