Kellyanne Conway Defends Trump on Border Wall and Unsubstantiated Voter Fraud Claims

Daniella Silva
Counselor to President, Kellyanne Conway, prepares to appear on the Sunday morning show Meet The Press, from the north lawn at the White House, January 22, 2017 in Washington, DC.
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Top presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway on Thursday defended Donald Trump's executive orders on a border wall with Mexico and said his daughter Tiffany Trump was not registered to vote in two states — despite state records showing that she is.

Conway said on the TODAY Show that Trump has been "very clear and consistent on this point that he's going to build the wall and Mexico will pay for it, whether they pay for it straight out or it's reimbursed later on after a congressional funding."

"The U.S. spends billions of dollars protecting other countries' borders," she said. "It's high time we spend money protecting our own."

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Trump signed two executive orders aimed at curbing illegal immigration on Wednesday, including one that would redirect existing Homeland Security money to build what the administration described as a "very large" wall on the U.S. border with Mexico.

But hours after Trump signed the orders, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto again stressed his country would not be paying for the wall.

Peña Nieto said in a brief address to Mexico that he "regrets and rejects" Trump's orders because "Mexico does not believe in walls."

"I have said it over and over again: Mexico will not pay for any wall," he stressed.

The Mexican leader was scheduled to meet with Trump next Tuesday to discuss immigration and trade, but both he and Trump have suggested they may cancel the meeting because of their disagreement on the wall.

Conway claims Tiffany Trump not registered in two states — despite records

Conway claimed it was "flatly false" that Tiffany Trump was registered in two states, but election records in both Pennsylvania and New York show she is still registered as an "active" voter in both as of Thursday morning.

Conway cited a conversation with Trump's youngest daughter as evidence during an interview with Matt Lauer on the TODAY Show.

"She had been registered in Pennsylvania and went through the process, [and] said it was very byzantine and took a long time, but she said that she is not registered to vote in two states," Conway said of her conversation with Trump.

A local election official also confirmed to NBC News on Wednesday and again on Thursday morning that Tiffany Trump was still registered to vote in Philadelphia.

Tiffany Trump, the president's youngest daughter, graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in May.

Why not have an investigation [of voter fraud]? What is everybody afraid of?
Kellyanne Conway
Trump's counselor

Conway's comments came one day after the president continued to perpetuate unsubstantiated claims of mass voting irregularities by calling for a "major investigation" into what he described as voter fraud.

Trump tweeted Wednesday morning that he would ask for an investigation into voter fraud, including alleged votes by undocumented immigrants, people who are allegedly registered to vote in more than one state and "those registered to vote who are dead (and many for a long time)."

Conway defended Trump's call for a major investigation, asking, "Why not have an investigation? What is everybody afraid of?"

But Trump's examples in his Wednesday-morning tweets all relate to voter registration issues, not fraudulent votes.

Election law experts told NBC News it was "completely natural" to have people on voter rolls in two states or for some people to remain on the voter rolls after they have died. They stressed this did not equate to actual fraudulent voting.

"To equate that with voter fraud is irresponsible," Heather Gerken, a professor of law at Yale University and expert on election law said. "They're completely different issues."

Trump's chief strategist, Steve Bannon, was also registered to vote in Florida and New York until Wednesday, local election officials told NBC News.