Trump Whines About Election Fraud at Rally, as RNC Worries It’s Scaring Off Voters
Former President Donald Trump riled up supporters at a rally in New Hampshire on Thursday. Just as he took the stage, CNN published excerpts from a draft RNC report exploring the reasons Republicans underperformed in the 2022 midterms. One conclusion stood above the rest: Voters are tired of hearing about election fraud.
“The American people want to move forward and rarely, if ever, are concerned about what happened in the past. The balance of survey data makes it clear that voters are done with the 2020 and 2022 elections. They have no patience for endless conversations relitigating previous elections from Democrats and Republicans,” reads the draft. “Those who don’t heed that lesson from 2022 will be more likely to lose in 2024 and successive cycles.”
But as the RNC mulls a new approach for 2024, their main obstacle will be Trump’s own stubbornness. While the report did not outright name Trump, the conclusions were clear — the party needs a new message, and Republicans’ approach to issues such as mail-in voting and abortion needs to change.
On stage in New Hampshire, the Republican presidential frontrunner reiterated his belief that the 2020 election was “rigged.” While Trump did write out his usual attacks against prosecutors, judges, and those who have accused him of misconduct from his New Hampshire speech, the diatribe was clogged with his standard rambling stump on domestic issues and foreign policy.
Trump took swings at his primary opponents, complaining that the RNC was planning to hold debates despite his opponents polling at “1%, 1%, 2%, 1%, 3%.” The former president also made sure to include his now staple claim that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis owes him his career.
The former president took a jab at President Joe Biden, joking that he would have to retire his “Crooked Hillary” moniker for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to pass the title on to Biden.
“I’m gonna give her a new name, I don’t know, like maybe ‘Lovely’ Hillary or ‘Beautiful Hillary,’” he said, “but I’m going to retire the name ‘crooked’ so that we can use the name for Joe Biden….He’ll be known from now on as ‘Crooked’ Joe Biden.”
As per usual, Trump touted his relationships with various authoritarian dictators and autocrats. The former president told the crowd that North Korean Dictator Kim Jeong Un liked him very much, but that “He’s not so happy with Biden. He says bad things about Biden.”
The rally took place amidst a maelstrom of legal issues for the former president. On Thursday, former Vice President Mike Pence testified for hours before a DC grand jury investigating Trump’s role in efforts to overturn the 2020 election. That same day in New York, author E. Jean Carroll delivered a second day of testimony in her civil rape trial against the former president.
In the background, Trump’s lawyers are embroiled in pre-trial litigation regarding criminal charges brought against him by Manhattan’s District Attorney, while a separate grand jury in Georgia is weighing an indictment against Trump from their investigation into election interference in the state.
While the RNC works to avoid a repeat of their disastrous 2022 performance in the 2024 election cycle, they may find themselves backed into a corner when it comes to Trump. RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel made a vow in August that the committee would remain “neutral” in their treatment of candidates in the Republican primary; the draft report omitted Trump’s name to avoid violating that promise. Yet with the former president as the clear frontrunner for the nomination, it will be hard to sell voters on a reformed platform when the standard bearer of the party refuses to shift.