Bernhard Langer is a German citizen, not an American citizen. That means he can't vote in American elections, and he knows that. However, the PGA Tour Champions stud suddenly found himself connected to President Donald Trump's continued, unfounded assertions of "massive" voter fraud in the 2016 election, which he won.
The New York Times reported on Wednesday that Langer told Trump a story about his voting experience in Florida, one which encapsulated the fraud Trump believes led to, what he believes, were millions of illegally cast ballots.
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.
Mr. Langer, whom he described as a supporter, left feeling frustrated, according to a version of events later contradicted by a White House official.
Langer set the record straight on Thursday, feeling the need to issue a statement to make clear his account and how it was communicated to the new President.
"Unfortunately, the report in the New York Times and other news outlets was a mischaracterization by the media," Langer said.
"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."
This whole thing is bizarre.
The Times pieces quotes Trump in saying he was told about this story by Langer directly, not another person. That's clearly not the case. Langer's daughter, Christina, who is quoted in the piece, made it clear Langer doesn't know Trump, or is at least not friends with him.
It seems like this story was part of an odd game of Telephone, but that Trump ultimately thought the story had more pop if it affected Langer.