A Republican senator who broke publicly with former President Donald Trump amid the latter’s false claims about the 2020 election worked on Sunday to reiterate that the former president lost to Joe Biden fairly.
As the nation focused its attention on the one-year anniversary of the attack on the US Capitol, senator Mike Rounds joined ABC’s This Week to dismiss the falsehoods that Mr Trump and his loyalists within the GOP continue to spread about his defeat.
"We simply did not win the election, as Republicans, for the presidency,” Mr Rounds said on Sunday.
He then warned that Mr Trump’s falsehoods only sought to undermine his own supporters’ confidence in US elections, while Democrats and independents who do not believe him continue to vote and participate in the system as normal.
“[I]f we simply look back and tell our people don't vote because there's cheating going on, then we're going to put ourselves in a huge disadvantage,” said the senator. “[L]et's focus on what it takes to win those elections. We can do that. But we have to let people know that they can -- they can believe and they can have confidence that those elections are fair."
Mr Rounds issued a statement just after the riot at the Capitol in January stating that while he had kept an “open mind” when listening to objections to the Electoral College votes of individual states which were targeted by the Trump campaign with allegations of fraud, he had found no reason to support those objections before the Senate given that Mr Trump’s supporters had failed to provide any conclusive evidence of fraud.
At the time, he denounced those who were objecting to the Electoral College vote counts anyway as violating the spirit of US democracy.
“Absent overwhelming evidence of constitutional violations in an election process, objecting to the Electoral College vote count is dangerous and unwise. It flies in the face of our Founding Fathers, who intended individual states to operate their own election processes and entrusted the adjudication of election disputes to the courts,” he said in January.
“As a part of our due diligence, we looked at over 60 different accusations made in multiple states…The election was fair, as fair as we've seen. We simply did not win the election, as Republicans, for the presidency,” GOP Sen. Mike Rounds says. https://t.co/jHS4IXc5OE pic.twitter.com/hCJydQPlyj— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) January 9, 2022
Mr Rounds repeated on Sunday during his interview with ABC News that he had listened to the supposed evidence of widespread election fraud put forth by Mr Trump’s allies, and had not been convinced.
"While there were some irregularities, there were none of the irregularities which would have risen to the point where they would have changed the vote outcome in a single state," he said.
Those comments echo the statements made by top federal officials appointed by Mr Trump himself, including former Attorney General William Barr, who in the days after the 2020 election sought to publicly rebuke the claims of vote manipulation spread by the former president’s supporters.
Officials including Mr Barr declared the 2020 election the most secure in US history, and subsequent state-level investigations in many jurisdictions across the country where fraud was alleged failed to turn up the significant levels of irregularities that Mr Trump’s campaign insisted had occurred.
This article was amended on 10 January 2022 to remove an incorrect reference to William Barr as a former secretary of state. He is, in fact, a former attorney general.
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