Trump tears into Republican senator who rejected 2020 election conspiracies

Former President Donald Trump fired back at a Republican senator on Monday for the senator’s acknowledgment of the reality that Mr Trump fairly lost the 2020 election.

The back-and-forth was sparked after GOP Sen Mike Rounds of South Dakota went on ABC’s This Week and declared that the Trump campaign “simply did not win” in 2020, a true assertion that clashes with Mr Trump’s ongoing falsehoods about supposedly widespread fraud and misconduct that he continues to blame for his defeat.

Mr Trump wrote in a statement: “Is he crazy or just stupid? The numbers are conclusive, and the fraudulent and irregular votes are massive. The only reason he did this is because he got my endorsement and easily won his state in 2020, so now he thinks he has time, and those are the only ones, the weak, who will break away.”

“Even though his election will not be coming up for 5 years, I will never endorse this jerk again,” added the former president.

Mr Rounds went on ABC over the weekend and reiterated the same conclusion that Mr Trump’s own attorney general, Bill Barr, made in the days following the 2020 election as the former president was seeking to overturn his defeat through legal challenges and attempts to halt the certification of his defeat by Congress.

“[T]here were none of the irregularities which would have risen to the point where they would have changed the vote outcome in a single state,” Mr Rounds said on Sunday.

His statement was not surprising; the GOP senator voted against objections to the certification of Joe Biden’s victory last January, and in a statement denounced those efforts as undemocratic and running contrary to the will of the Founding Fathers.

“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,” said the senator at the time.

Support for attempts to halt the certification of Mr Biden’s victory was far more widespread in the House, where several GOP members to this day continue to float wild conspiracies about the 2020 vote. In the Senate, support was more muted thanks in no small part to the efforts of Mitch McConnell, the Senate GOP leader, to whip votes against objections to certifying the Electoral College vote.

Mr Trump has vowed retribution against senators and House members who supported his second impeachment by Congress in the wake of the attack on the US Capitol, as well as local GOP officials who did not go along with his attempts to interfere in state procedures following his defeat.

That retribution has come in the form of Trump-supported primary challenges, as the former president seeks to use his status as GOP kingmaker (and wide favourite for the 2024 nomination) against his political enemies.

Whether Mr Rounds will face such a challenge in half a decade when he is up for reelection is unclear.


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