Sanders Defends Trump on Needing an ID to Buy Groceries

The White House spokeswoman said you need identification to “buy beer and wine.”

Sarah Huckabee Sanders at a White House press briefing in July.Michael Brochstein via ZUMA

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White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was put in the awkward position Wednesday of explaining President Donald Trump’s bizarre assertion that people need to present photo identification to buy groceries. Trump was right, she claimed, because you need an ID to “buy beer and wine.”

Trump made the claim at a rally in Florida on Tuesday evening while defending voter ID laws, which in some states require a photo ID in order to cast a ballot. These laws have been shown to prevent poor, elderly, young, and minority people from voting. 

“We believe that only American citizens should vote in American elections, which is why the time has come for voter ID, like everything else,” Trump said Tuesday. “You know, if you go out and you want to buy groceries, you need a picture on a card, you need ID. You go out and you want to buy anything, you need ID and you need your picture. In this country, the only time you don’t need it, in many cases, is when you want to vote.” 

At Wednesday’s press briefing, Sanders defended Trump. “If you buy beer and wine, you’re certainly going to show your ID,” Sanders said, adding, “I’m pretty sure that everybody in here who’s been to a grocery store that’s purchased beer or wine has probably had to show their ID.” But Trump didn’t say anything about alcohol, and his comments were widely perceived as evidence that the billionaire has not done his own grocery shopping in a long time.

During the same briefing, Sanders was asked whether the president still believes that millions of people vote illegally in 2016—an unfounded claim Trump has made repeatedly. Sanders responded that “even if there are 10 people that are voting illegally, it shouldn’t happen.”

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