House minority leader Kevin McCarthy, who has kept Trump close while shaking a strong hand to win back the majority next year, simply said “people should vote in their elections” when he recently spoke with the Warning has been faced by the former president that Republicans could stay home next fall or 2024 without paying more attention to allegations of election fraud. McCarthy’s No. 2, Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), Told Fox News last month that he saw problems with state administration of the 2020 election that were “not just irregularities.”
The GOP’s persistent acceptance of debunked allegations of widespread electoral fraud and the handful of Republican candidates seeking seats in Congress after attending the Stop the Steal rallies further underscore Trump’s continued influence in the party after some Republicans After Trump and other California Republicans laid the groundwork for evidence-free challenges to a Democratic victory in the recall elections in California earlier this year, at least one House Republican had suggested similar claims – ahead of the election on Tuesday in the event of a defeat by GOP candidate Glenn Youngkin in the Virginia gubernatorial race.
In short, the party’s balancing act over the 2020 vote and Trump’s influence will not end – despite Democrats’ interest in getting a referendum on the polarizing former president in 2022 and 2024. And most conservatives aren’t too worried.
“We need to make sure that we get to the bottom of some very abnormal, abnormal, strange, or irregular occurrences so that they don’t repeat themselves. We have to trust our choice, ”said Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas), a member of the House Freedom Caucus.
The continued spread of Trump’s fraud rhetoric has alarmed prosecutors and federal judges who have described them as harbingers of potential future January 6-style violent episodes. Prosecutors have charged more than 650 people with breaching the Capitol during the pro-Trump uprising earlier this year, with many defendants citing their allegiance to Trump as the reason for participating in the attack.
Some House Republicans, including staunch Conservatives, fear Trump’s obsession with his 2020 loss could burn the party in future races.
Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) said the former president’s message was “absolutely unhelpful” when asked if Trump’s statements were helpful as his party sought to regain a majority.
“When I speak to voters, I am very open with them. I say, ‘Stop being self-destructive. Go out there and choose, ”added Crenshaw after being asked about Trump’s testimony. “‘You shouldn’t listen to anyone who tells you not to.'”
Illinois MP Adam Kinzinger, a January 6th special committee member and the second House Republican to vote to indict Trump to announce his retirement plans this year, referred to continued unsubstantiated allegations about Election fraud as “a really dangerous thing”.
“There is still a sizeable part of the country that believes the elections were fraudulent. They really believe – smart people too, ”said Kinzinger in an interview.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger is the second House Republican to vote for impeachment against Trump to announce his retirement plans this year. | Kevin Dietsch / Getty Images
But Crenshaw and Kinzinger, with their different criticisms, are in the minority of the party. Many Republicans have preferred to set aside Trump’s rhetoric rather than counting on it.
When asked about the fraud allegations, Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) Said, “I’ll leave it to him [former] President.”
It’s not just the repeated debunking of arguments that cost Trump the election through widespread electoral fraud, including a public one from his former Attorney General that could bite Republicans. Many GOP members vividly remember their narrow losses in two runoff elections in the Georgia Senate that saw the Democrats elected to the upper chamber in January.
Those races on the eve of the Capitol attack took place amid Trump’s furious barrage of suspected fraud in Georgia which he falsely claimed had sunk his campaign. Many Republicans silently blame the former president’s rhetoric for the defeats, saying his message weighed on the Senate runoff election by making some GOP voters feel like their vote didn’t matter.
Trump’s latest comment on electoral fraud sparked another alarm last month when he warned that “Republicans will not vote in ’22 or ’24 until the” 2020 presidential election fraud “is cleared. Top Republicans have privately worried that Democrats will only benefit from statements that risk alienating their base.
“Look no further than the two Georgia Democratic senators. Without Trump, who suppressed the vote there, they would not have been elected, “said a senior Republican MP, who spoke openly on condition of anonymity.
Another prominent House Republican described how anger among the party’s voters over the 2020 election seemed to be fading ahead of Trump’s recent statements. Now, this lawmaker said, voters are asking how members are going to deal with the 2020 election or protect the next election, and some say they will not vote if things are not cleared up.
A Trump spokesman, asked about the former president’s recent statements on election fraud, highlighted a follow-up statement saying he “did not mean in any way to imply that I would say it.” [Republicans] not voting, but that they may have no incentive to vote unless the electoral process is fully resolved. “
Republicans’ electoral concerns have already spread to the GOP primaries as candidates attempt to draw the line between pro-Trump grassroots engagement and trying to win a general election.
At last month’s Coalition Conference on Faith and Freedom, two of the top Republican candidates in the North Carolina Senate primaries split over fraud allegations in 2020.
Both Rep. Ted Budd (RN.C.) and former Rep. Mark Walker (RN.C.) recognized Biden’s victory, but Walker raised concerns about the “mass mailing of these ballots – who picks them up, who fills them out” .
Budd, a member of the House Freedom Caucus, has already received Trump’s support.