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Golfer Shines Light on Trump Anecdote About Voters in Florida

Image:  Bernhard Langer of Germany
German golfer Bernhard Langer (File). Ian Walton/R&A / Getty Images Contributor

Donald Trump, so the story goes, told Congressional leaders this week that he learned some of what he knows about voter fraud from the German pro golfer Bernhard Langer.

Not so, the two-time Masters champion said Thursday.

Langer was responding to an article in the New York Times, which reported Trump had invoked him as he entertained House and Senate leaders in the State Dining Room on Monday.

Citing three unnamed witnesses, the Times said Trump recalled Langer telling him of standing in line at a polling place in Florida and being told he couldn't vote, even though others near him were allowed to cast provisional ballots.

But Langer is German and is not a U.S. citizen, meaning he has no voting privileges.

What's more, the Times quoted an unnamed White House staff member who was not at the event as saying Langer had actually told Trump the denial had happened to a friend.

But Langer said the connection was even more tangential.

"The voting situation reported was not conveyed from me to President Trump, but rather was told to me by a friend," Langer, 59, said in a statement released through the PGA Tour Champions, where he now competes. "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."

Langer accused the media of "mischaracterization," although it was not entirely clear what he was referring to. NBC News' calls to Langer were not returned Thursday. Meanwhile, the White House said Thursday that it would not comment beyond what was in the Times article.

Trump has stated that he wants to hold an inquiry into voting irregularities after claiming, without evidence, that three to five million "illegals" voted in the election — an assertion that has been debunked.