Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) believes that focusing on the 2020 election will not help Republicans in the future but admits that the party cannot do anything to stop former President Donald Trump from claiming the election was stolen.
CNN’s Manu Raju asked Thune on Tuesday about the former president’s claim that the riot at the U.S. Capitol on January 6 was a “lovefest.”
“That’s not what any of us here experienced,” he responded.
He continued, “Trying to rehash and revisit and re-litigate the past election is not a winning strategy for trying to get the majorities back in 2022.”
Raju asked the South Dakota senator if Trump’s claims of widespread fraud will hurt the party’s chances in the 2022 midterms.
“I mean, he’s gonna keep saying it. There’s not anything we can do about it,” Thune said.
He added, “But like I said, anytime you’re talking about the past, you’re not talking about the future. And I think the future is where we’re gonna live.”
Asked if Trump was hurting their chances in ‘22, Thune said: “I mean, he's gonna keep saying it. There's not anything we can do about it. But like I said, anytime you're talking about the past, you're not talking about the future. And I think the future is where we're gonna live”
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) July 13, 2021
Since the election, Trump has repeated his unfounded claims that widespread fraud tilted the results in President Joe Biden’s favor.
As The Washington Post reports, several Republican candidates across the country are focusing on the 2020 election and Trump’s claims of election fraud.
Additionally, the Post notes, “Dozens of candidates promoting the baseless notion that the election was rigged are seeking powerful statewide offices — such as governor, attorney general and secretary of state, which would give them authority over the administration of elections — in several of the decisive states where Trump and his allies sought to overturn the outcome and engineer his return to the White House.”
While Trump continues to claim the election was stolen, veteran Republican pollster Frank Luntz believes that his claims could hurt Republican turnout and cost them a chance to take back the House and Senate in the 2022 elections.
“What Donald Trump is saying is actually telling people it’s not worth it to vote. Donald Trump single-handedly may cause people not to vote. And he may be the greatest tool in the Democrats’ arsenal to keep control of the House and Senate in 2022,” he told The New York Times in May.
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