Jan
26
2017
Alternative facts: Bernhard Langer would like to set the record straight
By Stephanie Wei under Humor

Bernhard Langer

Despite winning the Electoral College vote to claim the highest office of the land as President of the United States, Donald Trump apparently still can’t get over the fact that he lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million to Hillary Clinton. It’s strange, considering the President and his supporters can’t seem to get enough of emphasizing that HE WON (even when it really shouldn’t be able winning vs. losing at this point when there are intelligence reports by multiple agencies asserting that it’s likely Russia interfered with our democratic process during the campaign).

In a meeting on Monday, Trump reasserted his debunked claim that he would have won the popular vote by 3-5 million had it not been for “illegals,” according to the New York Times. The President followed up on this affirmation via his favorite outlet Twitter, saying he was calling for a major investigation into voter fraud. (Which leaves many perplexed and wondering if that’s the best way to spend our tax dollars, especially since he, you know, won.)

Trump dragged two-time Masters champion Bernhard Langer into the conversation when a Democrat protested. He incorrectly told the story that a “very famous golfer,” whom he described as a “friend,” relayed to him, which was somehow part of the inspiration for Mr. Trump’s desire to look into illegal voting. Via the NYT:

The three witnesses recalled Mr. Langer being the protagonist of the story, although a White House official claimed the president had been telling a story relayed to the golfer by one of Mr. Langer’s friends.

The witnesses described the story this way: Mr. Langer, a 59-year-old native of Bavaria, Germany — a winner of the Masters twice and of more than 100 events on major professional golf tours around the world — was standing in line at a polling place near his home in Florida on Election Day, the president explained, when an official informed Mr. Langer he would not be able to vote.

Ahead of and behind Mr. Langer were voters who did not look as if they should be allowed to vote, Mr. Trump said, according to the staff members — but they were nonetheless permitted to cast provisional ballots. The president threw out the names of Latin American countries that the voters might have come from.

First of all, this part of the anecdote where Mr. Trump asserts that Mr. Langer said there were “voters who did not look as if they should be allowed to vote” does not sound anything like Bernhard Langer would actually say. Yes, Mr. Langer is a bit before my time, but I’ve covered a U.S. Senior Open that he’s won, along with several Masters, where he’s finished quite well despite his senior-citizen status in golf.

The New York Times points out the problem with this story. Mr. Langer, who is originally from Germany, is a permanent resident of the United States, but remains his German citizenship. Thus, he cannot vote in America.

“He is a citizen of Germany,” she said, when reached on her father’s cellphone. “He is not a friend of President Trump’s, and I don’t know why he would talk about him.”

Shocking that Trump would characterize someone who actually isn’t his friend as a “friend” probably because he’s a “very famous golfer.” Just another “alternative fact,” I suppose.

Since we’re in the Trump era, I’ll share the little bit about Langer’s personal life I know that may or may not be confirmed: He lives in a mostly Jewish area in South Florida, and while he’s a devout Christian, he’s also an incredibly friendly neighbor and beloved by all. Langer, a two-times Masters champion with over 100 professional wins across the world, is quite funny in a dry German way and he’s also the most famous golfer to hail from that country (sorry, Martin Kaymer — even though you do also have two major championship wins).

Undoubtedly, Langer is being inundated with media requests, so the PGA Tour Champions has sent out a statement on his behalf:

Unfortunately, the report in the New York Times and other news outlets was a mischaracterization by the media. The voting situation reported was not conveyed from me to President Trump, but rather was told to me by a friend. I then relayed the story in conversation with another friend, who shared it with a person with ties to the White House. From there, this was misconstrued. I am not a citizen of the United States, and cannot vote. It’s a privilege to live in the United States, and I am blessed to call America my home. I will have no further comment at this time.”

FFS. Actually, Mr. Trump mischaracterized the story because he’s the one who originally told this anecdote, which apparently really struck a chord with him, and called Mr. Langer a friend. Just so we have the record straight. But I’m shocked that Langer would relay such a story to a friend that there were people who looked like they shouldn’t have been voting? I’m disappointed.

While we’re at it, though, Mr. Trump should ask Mr. Langer how he feels about building walls to denote “borders.”