Donald Trump has created a massive divide in the Repubican Party, if not exactly an even split. Elected officials are under constant pressure to either support him unconditionally, or be attacked for expressing any dissent or disagreement. Republicans who stand against Trump’s ‘Big Lie’ are in particular facing primary challenges and accusations of disloyalty.
The result is often a Republican politician, when put on the spot, trying to hedge their bets, dodge the question, and avoid directly contradicting the former president, yet also being cautious not to actually disavow the lie, or appear to criticize or contradict a man with disproportionate influence over the party’s voters.
In this case, it’s Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO), who appeared on MSNBC and found himself facing the question of whether he agrees with Trump’s claim that the “real insurrection” was November 3rd, election day, not January 6th, when his supporters swarmed the Capitol Building in an effort to prevent Congress from confirming the electoral vote for Joe Biden.
MSNBC's @mitchellreports: "Doesn't the [Republican Party] have to disavow the challenge to the election in order to go forward?"
Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO): "We don't need to keep focusing on the past."
Mitchell: "But Republicans are … and incorrectly." pic.twitter.com/eg64GMp1oG
— The Recount (@therecount) October 24, 2021
It’s an extension of the Big Lie — the claim that more voters supported Donald Trump for re-election, but that widespread fraud changed the outcome, and Blunt, with the opportunity to either affirm or reject the false claim, chose to sidestep it entirely instead.
“The election was what it was. There’s a process you go through that determines whether or not the early reports were the right reports, and we went through that process.”
Still, he did suggest that Trump should drop it.
“I’m of the view that the best thing that President Trump could do to help us win majorities in 2022 is talk about the future.”
Trump’s false statements about election integrity have been credited as one factor in the outcome of the January election of two Democratic Senators from Georgia. His recent declaration that Republicans won’t vote at all in 2022 and 2024, unless the unproven fraud he alleges is addressed, clearly has some in his party worried that upcoming elections will also be affected by the Big Lie rhetoric.
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Steph Bazzle reports on social issues and religion for Hill Reporter. She focuses on stories that speak to everyone's right to practice what they believe in and receive the support of their communities and government officials. You can reach her at Steph@HillReporter.com