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House Minority Whip Steve Scalise cast some doubt on the 2020 presidential election when he was pressed Sunday by Fox News host Chris Wallace on whether former President Donald Trump’s continued claims that the election was stolen from him are legitimate.
The discussion between the two men came hours after the former president reiterated his claims of a stolen election during a rally held in Des Moines, Iowa.
“They used Covid in order to cheat and rig. Remember this is not about me being robbed of an election. This is about the American people having their country taken away from them,” Trump reportedly said.
— Tricia Flanagan (R-NJ) (@NewDayForNJ) October 10, 2021
After first talking about other matters, Wallace specifically asked Scalise whether he personally buys the former president’s claims and whether he believes these claims from Trump may perhaps be undermining American democracy.
“Clearly there were irregularities in the last election; there are irregularities in all elections. I want to ask you a specific question: Do you think the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump?” he said.
“And continuing to make that charge, not having states do election reforms, but specifically making this charge that the election was stolen. Do you think that that hurts, undermines American democracy?”
In other words, Wallace is OK with states pursuing reasonable election reform measures such as the introduction of voter ID laws to prevent issues in future elections. What concerns him is Trump’s fevered focus on relitigating the past election.
Scalise responded by, interestingly enough, relitigating the past election and drawing attention to the sliver of states that he believes had during the 2020 election failed to abide by constitutional law.
“If you look at a number of states, they didn’t follow their state-passed laws. That’s what the United States Constitution says. They don’t say the states determine what the rules are; they say the state legislatures determine …,” he said before being cut off.
“But the states all certified,” Wallace interjected.
“But they didn’t follow those legislative rules,” Scalise promptly fired back.
“At the end of the day, are we going to follow what the Constitution says or not? I hope we get back to what the Constitution says, but clearly a number of states didn’t follow those legislative rules,” he continued.
Watch the back-and-forth exchange below:
In response, Wallace then put words in Scalise’s mouth.
“So you think the election was stolen?” he said.
But that wasn’t what the Republican congressman had said.
“What I said is there are states that didn’t follow their legislatively set rules. That’s what the United States Constitution says. I think there are a lot of people who want to get back to what the Constitution says,” he replied.
“Not just with elections, but with a lot of other things. And some people want to ignore what the Constitution says and do their own thing. That’s been a debate going on in this country for a long time. Why don’t we just get back to the Constitution?”
Once again Wallace returned to his original question, except that this time he noted how many Republican voters also believe the election was stolen.
“There was a rally for President Trump yesterday, and a number of people said ‘Joe Biden is not my president; Donald Trump is my president,'” he said.
This sentiment has also been fairly commonplace on Twitter for quite awhile now:
DONALD TRUMP IS MY PRESIDENT
I was so happy when he walked on the CPAC stage!
He is America’s True and Real Leader!
President Trump is Back and I’m beyond excited
— Terrence K. Williams (@w_terrence) February 28, 2021
“I guess the question is, do you think the election was still in or not? Last time, I promise. I understand there are irregularities and things that needed to be fixed. Do you think the election was still in?” Wallace then asked.
But like the first time, Scalise again stressed that numerous states had failed to abide by the U.S. Constitution.
“It’s not just irregularities. It is states that did not follow the laws. When you see states like Georgia cleaning up some of the mess, and people calling that [a] ‘Jim Crow law,’ that’s a flat out lie. … The legislature passed that law. That is what is in the Constitution of the United States, and it wasn’t followed in a number of states.”
The so-called “Jim Crow” law, as Democrats call it, was signed into law in March by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp — a man who’s certainly not close to Trump — to ensure that future elections in the GOP-led state abide by the U.S. Constitution.
“Significant reforms to our state elections were needed. There’s no doubt there were many alarming issues with how the election was handled, and those problems, understandably, led to a crisis of confidence,” Kemp said at the time.
— Riley Bunch (@ribunchreports) March 25, 2021
The problem, as Scalise repeatedly explained, is that this “crisis of confidence” persists because, although future elections in Georgia are now ostensibly secure, future elections in other states aren’t.
More importantly, say Trump and his supporters, including apparently the Republican congressman, this fix doesn’t negate the fact that something went wrong in the last election, and that this something still hasn’t been accounted for.
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