- Donald Trump delivered a speech at the CPAC conference on Sunday.
- “Now, if it’s bad, I just say it’s fake,” Trump said of polls he doesn’t like.
- The cynical approach fits Trump’s track record, but the admission was unusually frank.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Former President Donald Trump in his speech at the CPAC conservative conference Sunday made a frank admission: that he judges the reliability of poll results on whether he wins them.
If he didn’t like the result of a poll he’d call it fake, but if he approved of the result he’d lavish it with praise, he said.
Speaking at the event in Dallas, Trump discussed the straw poll recording the popularity of potential 2024 Republican presidential candidates in the hours before its results came out.
“By the way, you have a poll coming out,” Trump said during his hour and a half-long speech. “I want to know what it is. You know they do that straw poll, right?”
-Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) July 11, 2021
“Now, if it’s bad, I just say it’s fake,” Trump said, drawing laughter from the crowd. “If it’s good, I say that’s the most accurate poll, perhaps ever.”
Trump then tried to cajole CPAC Chairman Matt Schlapp to give him the results early.
“I guess it gets announced after, I want to find out, are you going to – oh, he won’t. He won’t tell me,” said Trump.
Critics saw in the remarks an admission from Trump of his playbook when dealing with unfavorable data: attacking its authenticity when it doesn’t suit his agenda.
-Mike Sington (@MikeSington) July 12, 2021
It notably matches his handling of the 2020 presidential election results, the integrity of which he has attacked repeatedly since losing to Joe Biden.
Trump has claimed, wrongly, that the contest was stolen from his as a result of mass fraud. Despite a concerted attempt to substantiate the claims, attempts by Trump and his allies to challenge the results have all failed.
The claim inspired his supporters on January 6 to attack the US Capitol in a bid to halt Joe Biden’s certification as president.
It turned out that Trump had no reason to seek to discredit the CPAC straw poll.
70% of conference attendees said they’d vote for him if he were the primary candidate. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis came second on 21%.