GOP Senator Undermines Trump's Fraud Claims: 'The Election Was Fair' - Rolling Stone
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GOP Senator Undermines Trump’s Fraud Claims: ‘The Election Was Fair’

“We simply did not win the election, as Republicans, for the presidency,” said Sen. Mike Rounds

GOP Senator Undermines Trump's Fraud Claims: 'The Election Was Fair'GOP Senator Undermines Trump's Fraud Claims: 'The Election Was Fair'

Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D. at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, June 22, 2021. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

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UPDATE (1/10): Responding to Rounds’ comments, former President Trump released a lengthy screed berating him as “crazy or just stupid.” In the statement, Trump wrote that Brown “went woke” when he claimed the election was fair. “The numbers are conclusive, and the fraudulent and irregular votes are massive,” Trump said. (The numbers are conclusive. Biden won, and no massive fraud took place.) “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.”

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Republican Senator Mike Rounds committed MAGA heresy on Sunday: He stated that Joe Biden’s 2020 win over Donald Trump was part of a fair election, contradicting Trump’s lies about a stolen election. Appearing on This Week, the senator said, “The election was fair, as fair as we have seen. We simply did not win the election, as Republicans, for the presidency.”

Rounds said that he examined numerous allegations of voter fraud and dismissed them all as inconsequential. “As a part of our due diligence, we looked at over 60 different accusations made in multiple states,” the senator told host George Stephanopoulos. “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.”

Rounds, who voted to certify Biden’s win, has been fairly consistent in his messaging that the election wasn’t stolen. He argued that Trump casting the election process as rife with fraud harms Republicans’ electoral chances in the upcoming midterms. “If 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,” he said. “So, moving forward, let’s focus on what it takes to win those elections. We can do that.“

But even after directly contradicting Trump, Rounds refused to say he would not support Trump should he seek a second term in 2024. “I will take a hard look at it. Personally, what I have told people is, is I’m going to support the Republican nominee to be president,” he said, adding, “I’m not sure that the eventual nominee has even shown up yet.”

Rounds also indicated he would oppose a law designed to keep Trump out of office but said that the former president is vulnerable to criminal prosecution by the Justice Department. “Every single individual in the United States is subject to the court systems. What happens with a president is that he has the shield of office, which, in many cases, prohibits or limits the ability of the courts to address issues surrounding that. … That shield of the presidency does not exist for someone who is a former president,“ he said, adding the caveat that he doesn’t believe DOJ has yet presented any damning evidence against Trump.

While Rounds condemned the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6 and even said Trump might be criminally prosecuted for it, the senator stopped short of supporting impeachment and voted against convicting Trump in the Senate for his actions around the Capitol attack.

This post has been updated.

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