After the 2020 presidential election, Donald Trump claimed he had been stripped of a second term as US president. And now a movie that pushes largely debunked conspiracy theories to support that claim has become a surprise hit in the US.
Since its release in late May, “2000 Mules,” a film by Dinesh D’Souza, who was convicted of breaking campaign finance laws before being pardoned by Trump, has garnered more than 1.2 million at the US box office, NDTV reported.
A group of elderly moviegoers were recently seen heading to a matinee screening at a movie theater in a Virginia shopping district. The seniors settled in to the documentary which promises to “expose widespread and coordinated voter fraud in the 2020 election sufficient to change the overall outcome”.
It opens with a video of anonymous voters enthusiastically slipping their ballots into ballot boxes stamped with the American flag. D’Souza then tells the audience that “elections are the cornerstone of our democracy.” As the background darkens, he says the 2020 election “haunts the American spirit.” Like many Americans, including Trump, the filmmaker expresses the belied conviction that the Democrats rigged the result of the last presidential election. The director says in his voiceover that Americans can’t move on “unless we know the truth.”
To prove his theory, D’Souza shows up, leaning on a kitchen counter and calling a Texas-based group known as True the Vote. He claims to “support the integrity of elections”. Following the phone call, an appointment is fixed. Two members of the group claim to have proof of the existence of an operation. “Like a cartel,” the people working on the operation apparently hired “mules” to fill the ballot boxes in a series of US states that were instrumental in Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election. Souza says it’s a “robbery” and “a crime.”
During this time, NPR discovered that True The Vote had made several misleading or false claims about its work. It included the suggestion that the group helped solve the murder of an eight-year-old girl in Atlanta. The claims appear in “2,000 mules,” which has been described as a pro-Trump movie. Trump embraced the film, which gained popularity on the political right.
Liz Harrington, official Trump spokeswoman, said True The Vote “solved the murder of a young little girl in Atlanta. I mean, they’re heroes.” Fans of the film echoed this message on social media, but this claim is false.
In the murder of Secoriea Turner, Georgia authorities arrested and charged two suspects in August 2021. True The Vote said it contacted law enforcement more than two months later. This means that he had no role in these arrests or indictments.