Donald Trump warned Republican voters will stay at home in the 2022 midterm and 2024 presidential elections unless the GOP fully embraces the lie that Trump beat President Joe Biden in 2020 .
“If we don’t solve the 2020 presidential voter fraud … Republicans won’t vote in 22 or 24,” Trump said in a statement Wednesday. “It is the most important thing for Republicans to do.”
The twice-indicted former president has routinely spouted debunked allegations of voter fraud in the months after his departure, even after the violent Jan.6 riot on the U.S. Capitol. Most elected Republicans simply chose to ignore it, dodging questions about the chaos caused by Trump on Capitol Hill.
But Trump’s attempts to get the entire party apparatus to question the integrity of U.S. electoral systems could cost Republicans dearly at the polls. In Georgia, for example, Trump’s lies about fraud suppressed Republican voter turnout and helped cost his party, Georga’s two U.S. Senate seats, as well as GOP control over the Senate, according to the secretary. of Republican State of Georgia.
Trump has already made substantial progress in backing candidates across the country who are ready to embrace his rhetoric on voter fraud. A Trump-imposed litmus test on the validity of the 2020 election would strengthen his grip on the party as he plays with the idea of running for president again. It would also create headaches for Republicans looking to keep media attention on the Biden administration.
Already, some major Republican lawmakers are bending the knee. House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, the No.2 House GOP Leader, for example, declined over the weekend to say that the 2020 election result was legitimate.
Representative Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), Who helps lead the January 6 House select committee investigating the Capitol uprising, criticized Scalise afterwards. The Wyoming lawmaker is one of the last Republicans elected to denounce Trump.
“Millions of Americans have been sold to an election fraud that was stolen. Republicans have a duty to tell the American people that is not true,” Cheney said. tweeted. “To perpetuate the big lie is an attack on the heart of our constitutional republic. “
The Democratic National Committee also called on GOP leaders in the House and Senate, including parliamentary minority leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.)
“[T]This is what happens when Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy go out of their way to indulge in his dangerous lies, failed leadership and utter incompetence, ”DNC spokesman Ammar Moussa said in a statement. “Republicans cannot have it both ways – they cannot kiss Donald Trump’s ring and then refuse to answer for his most egregious lies that led to the violent Jan.6 assault on Capitol Hill and continue to undermine our democracy. “