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Arkansas GOP Governor Says Trump’s Fraud Claims Are ‘Recipe For Disaster’ In Midterms

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Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, criticized former President Donald Trump’s continued and baseless claims of election fraud Sunday and said they would doom the GOP’s chances in the midterm elections, after the ex-president suggested this week that Republicans should not vote unless the party “solves” his 2020 election fraud allegations.

Key Facts

Hutchinson said on Meet the Press that “re-litigating” the 2020 election would be a “recipe for disaster” in 2022, and said Trump’s comments about fraud and GOP voter turnout were “not constructive.”

The governor was responding to a Trump statement from earlier this week in which the ex-president claimed “Republicans will not be voting in ‘22 or ‘24” if the GOP does not “solve the Presidential Election Fraud of 2020”—despite the fact there is no evidence of widespread fraud—and called investigating the purported fraud the “single most important thing for Republicans to do.”

Hutchinson said Republicans “can win in 2022” and are “going to,” but the party should focus on issues like “our supply chain, of getting over this pandemic, about freedom” rather than the 2020 race.

Crucial Quote

“The election is passed, it’s been certified, the states made decisions on the integrity of each of their elections and made improvements where it need be,” Hutchinson said. “It’s about the future, it’s not about the last election.”

Tangent

Hutchinson’s comments came as Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy (La.), who voted for Trump’s impeachment and has made similar comments about the damaging nature of his fraud claims, also criticized the ex-president and his 2024 chances. In an interview airing Sunday with Axios on HBO, the GOP lawmaker expressed doubt about whether Trump would win the presidential nomination if he runs again, given his failure leading the Republican ballot in 2020. “I don’t know that,” Cassidy said about the idea Trump would win the 2024 primary. “Trump is the first president, on the Republican side at least, to lose the House, the Senate, and the presidency in four years. Elections are about winning.”

Contra

While some Republicans like Hutchinson and Cassidy have criticized Trump’s fraud claims, other GOP lawmakers across the country have been happy to keep “re-litigating” the 2020 election. Lawmakers and officials in states including Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Texas and Michigan have pushed for or have already kicked off new partisan election audits into the presidential results, which Trump has advocated for even in states like Texas that he won.

Key Background

Trump and his allies have spent the past year since the 2020 election alleging there was widespread fraud, even as official government audits, post-election court cases and analyses have repeatedly disproved those claims. There have been very few actual incidents of voter fraud in the election, and evidence shows such fraud has historically been exceedingly rare. Trump’s suggestion that Republicans won’t vote because of the fraud claims—which polling shows a majority of his supporters believe—comes after Republicans’ Senate losses in the Georgia runoff election were partially blamed on Trump and his allies depressing GOP turnout with his cries of voter fraud in the battleground state.

Surprising Fact

Trump has pushed for partisan election audits in recent days despite the fact that the only such investigation that’s been completed so far—in Maricopa County, Arizona—actually found more votes for President Joe Biden and fewer for Trump than the state’s official tally.

Further Reading

Trump claims his supporters won’t vote in the 2022 and 2024 elections unless the GOP backs his groundless election-fraud theories (Insider)

Michigan Officials Charge 3 People With Voter Fraud, Tell Trump Supporters To ‘Stop Spreading Lies’ Fraud Is Widespread (Forbes)

‘Big Lie’ Election Audits Go On After Arizona: Here’s What’s Happening In Wisconsin, Pennsylvania—And Now Texas (Forbes)

Arizona Audit Cost Trump Supporters Nearly $6 Million—Only To Assert Biden Won By Even More (Forbes)

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