Donald Trump lost the presidency fair and square, Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) said Sunday in a truthful statement that sent the former president into a whiny rage.
“The election was fair, as fair as we have seen,” Rounds said on ABC News’ “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.” “We simply did not win the election, as Republicans, for the presidency.”
Rounds said Republicans had looked into allegations of irregularities and found none that were significant. And he went further, calling election fraud claims counterproductive for the Republican Party.
“If we simply look back and tell our people don’t vote because there’s cheating going on, then we’re going to put ourselves in a huge disadvantage,” Rounds said.
On Monday morning, Trump responded, calling Rounds “woke” and falsely claiming that the election had, in fact, been stolen.
“Even though his election will not be coming up for five years, I will never endorse this jerk again,” Trump said of Rounds.
Rounds didn’t back down in a statement issued by his office later on Monday.
“I’m disappointed but not surprised by the former president’s reaction. However, the facts remain the same. I stand by my statement. The former president lost the 2020 election,” he said.
Rounds may not be up for election until 2026, but there is another South Dakota Republican who is on the ballot this year. Sen. John Thune, the minority whip, announced over the weekend he will seek a fourth term in office. Thune is considered a likely successor to lead his party in the Senate after Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) leaves office.
Thune found himself at odds with Trump last year after he urged the former president and supporters to “move on” from the 2020 election, dismissing efforts to overturn it in Congress. Trump fired back by calling the senator “Mitch’s boy” and urging a primary challenge.
Asked about Trump going after Rounds on Monday, Thune quipped, “Welcome to the club.” He added: “I don’t think that re-litigating and rehashing the past is a winning strategy.”
No serious GOP challengers have stepped forward to run against Thune — at least not yet. One man who is running says he participated in protests in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6, 2021, though he maintains he never stormed the U.S. Capitol along with other Trump supporters.
Rounds isn’t the only Republican senator telling the truth about who won the 2020 presidential election. Most GOP senators already say this. Even some of the Republicans who voted against certifying Biden as the winner last year — an act itself based on no evidence of widespread voter fraud — don’t hesitate now to say that yes, Biden won, fair and square.
“He’s the constitutionally elected president,” Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), who voted against certifying Biden’s election, told HuffPost last month. “I’ve said it like a zillion times.”
Sens. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), both of whom voted against certifying Biden’s win last year, also firmly said “yes” when asked if they believe he won the election fairly.