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ORLANDO, Florida – The former president’s “big lie” that he actually won the last election has been refuted by judges, Republican election officials across the country, even Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell – but it remained an article of faith to the greatest of the country. gathering of self-proclaimed conservatives.

Among the attendees and speakers featured at the set-up for the Conservative Political Action Conference at the Hyatt Regency, the idea that Donald Trump did indeed win re-election on November 3, but was stolen from him in a plot involving from manufacturers of voting machines, state and federal judges (and, in some versions, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg) was treated as a fact.

“It was a rigged election, and our votes were stolen,” said Anne Marie Michaels, a food blogger from Austin, Texas, who denounced the names of the Dominion and Smartmatic voting machines and then explained that the Global bankers were behind the whole plan. “If we have our votes stolen, we don’t have a republic.”

Trump began to claim he won the race in the wee hours of election night and continued to lie about it until and during the Jan.6 attack on Capitol Hill – which he instigated in a last attempt to stay in power. He reported the lie to CPAC on Sunday, where he gave his first public speech since leaving the White House on January 20, the day Democratic President Joe Biden was inaugurated.

Just 13 minutes into his speech, Trump mistakenly claimed that Biden had in fact lost the election and suggested he would run again in 2024. “In fact, as you know, they’re coming. to lose the White House. I might even decide to beat them a third time, ”he told CPAC attendees.

“We won the elections twice,” he said half an hour later.

And half an hour later, Trump embarked on a long tirade against the electoral system, accusing him of being “sick and corrupt” and alleging that “tens of millions” of ballots had been sent out ” indiscriminately ”and that“ illegal aliens and dead people vote. “

“This election was rigged, and the Supreme Court and other courts did not want to do anything about it,” he said, repeatedly attacking the High Court for lacking “courage” and “courage. ” for help.

Trump’s renewal of the electoral lie that led to the Capitol siege had already received a lot of straw work during the three-day conference.

“Let’s be clear: the left rigged the election,” said Tom Fitton, head of the pro-Trump tax exemption group Judicial Watch, just hours before Trump took the stage.

And shortly before that there was an election panel called “Bankrupt States (PA, GA, NV, oh my God!)” – states that Trump expected to win but lost nonetheless.

Pennsylvania Rep. Mike Kelly claimed, wrongly, that Democrats count the votes to determine how much they need to forge, and then “bump” them up enough to win. And Amanda Milius, the producer of The Plot Against the President, complained about Republicans who urged those who spread Trump’s election lies to stop. “It’s an effort to silence us,” she said.

The National Review’s Deroy Murdock on Friday actually used Trump’s electoral lie to defend those who carried out the Jan.6 insurgency. “The reason people stormed the Capitol is because they felt desperate, because of a rigged election,” he said.


Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Before taking the stage inside the Conservative Political Action Conference, supporters of former President Donald Trump stood outside the Hyatt Regency on Sunday.

Not all CPAC speakers pushed Trump’s lies. A Sunday morning panel led by Dan Schneider, executive director of the American Conservative Union, which hosts the conference, warned the public not to spread absurd and patently bogus conspiracy theories and instead strive to prevent them. Democrats pass laws to make voting easier. , and urged the Conservatives to help ensure their side is better funded in court challenges.

“When we went to court, the other party had so many lawyers that they didn’t have enough chairs for them,” said J. Christian Adams of the Public Interest Legal Foundation.

The previous afternoon, prominent Republican electoral lawyer Charlie Spies was heckled when he contradicted an interrogator who asked how to prevent voting machines from returning votes to Democratic candidates. “I can get booed off the stage for that, but it’s just not true,” Spies said.

But Spies’ commentary was noteworthy primarily because it constituted an apostasy against one of the main themes of CPAC.

Matt Schlapp, president of the ACU and close ally of Trump, again falsely claimed on Sunday that “electoral fraud” was the reason for his loss of 7 million votes. “CPAC is your first chance to see what really happened on election day,” he said, lying. “And there was widespread electoral fraud in far too many states, especially in the big cities ruled by the Democratic machine. It’s a fact.

However, to what extent the effort to bow to Trump and his staunch supporters will translate into a larger electorate, it remains unclear.

“I have watched this CPAC as closely as every two years. I have absolutely no idea what’s going on, ”said Terry Sullivan, a longtime GOP consultant who led Florida Senator Marco Rubio’s 2016 presidential campaign. “And 99% of the rest of America either.”

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