Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Sunday refused to say the election wasn’t stolen, giving cover to former President Donald Trump’s lies about voter fraud that inspired the deadly insurrectionist attack on the Capitol earlier this month.
Paul, who voted to certify the electoral votes on Jan. 6, suggested during an appearance on ABC News’ “This Week” that there may have been rampant voter fraud and ballot-counting issues.
The Justice Department, led at the time by Trump pick William Barr, and election officials nationwide have said there’s no evidence of widespread fraud or misconduct that would overturn President Joe Biden’s win.
“This election was not stolen,” host George Stephanopoulos told Paul. “Do you accept that fact?”
Paul, failing to answer directly, responded that there should be a debate over whether there was any fraud.
“Were there people who voted twice?” Paul said. “Were there dead people who voted? Were there illegal aliens who voted? Yes, and we should get to the bottom of it.”
Stephanopoulos interrupted to note that “no election is perfect.” There are instances of fraud in every election. For example, as in past elections, there were some votes cast by dead people in 2020. But this type of fraud and other instances described by Paul were not widespread enough to change the outcome of the election, according to Barr and state election officials.
“There were 86 challenges filed by President Trump and his allies in court. All were dismissed,” Stephanopoulos said. “All were dismissed. ... Can’t you just say the words: This election was not stolen?”
Paul continued to sidestep the question, stating that 75% of Republicans believe Congress should “look at election integrity” to restore confidence in the country’s electoral system.
Democrats have, in fact, made strengthening the security of U.S. elections and imposing federal election standards the centerpiece of several initial legislative measures under the Biden administration.
“Well, 75% of Republicans agree with you because they were fed a big lie by President Trump and his supporters who say the election was stolen,” Stephanopoulos fired back at Paul. “Why can’t you say President Biden won a legitimate and fair election?”
Paul then falsely accused Stephanopoulos of calling all Republicans “liars” and attacked his performance as a journalist, suggesting it was inappropriate of Stephanopoulos to lay out the facts.
“You’re forgetting who you are as a journalist if you think there’s only one side,” Paul said.
“I’m standing by facts,” Stephanopoulos said. “There are not two sides to facts. I did not say this was a perfect election. I said the results were certified. I said it was not stolen. It is a lie to say it was stolen.”
In a subsequent interview on “This Week,” former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, tore into GOP members who are peddling this lie of election fraud.
“This election was not stolen,” said Christie, a former Trump adviser. “All of the facts point in that direction. ... There were no type of irregularities that would have changed the result in any one state.”
“Folks in my party who are doing that, quite frankly, are just trying to make political points with those people who the president and others lied to about this over the course of the 10 weeks after the election,” he added. “And it’s shameful that they’re doing it.”