(CNSNews.com) - Following sharp criticism from Democrats and their media allies on Tuesday, President Donald Trump on Wednesday morning tweeted: "I will be asking for a major investigation into VOTER FRAUD, including those registered to vote in two states, those who are illegal and....even, those registered to vote who are dead (and many for a long time). Depending on results, we will strengthen up voting procedures!"
(Trump also tweeted that he will name his Supreme Court nominee next week.)
Trump's voter fraud claims date back to November 27, when he tweeted, "In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally."
He reportedly said something similar Monday evening, at a private reception at the White House for congressional leaders. And his offhand comment became major news on Tuesday for Trump's critics.
As CNSNews.com reported, at Tuesday's White House briefing, six different reporters pressed Trump spokesman Sean Spicer on Trump's Monday night claim, paving the way for mainstream media outlets and congressional Democrats to focus on Trump's "fiction" (as CNN's Jake Tapper called it). Trump's voter fraud claims -- not his whirlwind of executive activity -- were the lead on some mainstream media newscasts Tuesday evening.
Democrats also weighed in:
"I heard the White House was saying that 3 to 5 million illegals did vote," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) told a news conference on Tuesday. "The president ought to realize he's president. Instead of talking about the election or how many people showed up at the inauguration, he ought to talk about how many new jobs he's creating. It's time to be president.
Schumer said Republicans have an "obligation" to reject such "falsehoods."
"The bottom line is simple. You cannot run a government, you cannot help people, you cannot keep America safe, if you don't actually admit to the facts. Plain and simple. And unless that starts happening, this country's going to have real trouble and it's not going to be Democratic trouble, Republican trouble, liberal trouble, conservative trouble, just trouble because of avoidance of the facts."
Appearing at the same news conference, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said, "Regarding Mr. Trump's delusional statement that 3 to 5 million people voted illegally in the last election --that is a total nonsensical statement. But what I fear about that statement and what is something we should all worry about is when Trump talks about 3 to 5 million people voting illegally, he is sending a message to every Republican governor in this country to go forward with voter suppression.
"The great political and democratic crisis we face now in this country is not voter fraud, it is voter suppression. And my belief is we have got to make -- do everything we can to make sure that everybody in this country who is legally able to is able to vote."
At the White House on Tuesday, in response to the six reporters who questioned Trump's voter fraud claim, Sean Spicer said, The president does believe" that millions of people voted illegally in November. "He has stated that before," Spicer noted.
"I think he was having a discussion with some folks and mentioned something in passing, which has been a long-standing belief that he's maintained. This isn't the first time that you've heard this concern of his."
Pressed on whether Trump would investigate voter fraud, Spicer said, "Well, maybe we will." Asked a similar question later in the briefing, Spicer refused to "prejudge what we may or may not do in the future."
Less than 24 hours later, President Trump was calling for an investigation into voter fraud.