Trump ignored warnings that dwelling on cheating in 2020 could cost him elections

A number of Republicans have urged former President Donald Trump to live through the 2020 presidential election to avoid isolating some voters and further dividing a base that has been trying to figure out their party’s future — but Trump defiantly stood up avenged, and that determination has cost him one of the biggest losses of this medium-term cycle to date.

Just hours before Trump’s backing candidate in Georgia’s lead nomination was defeated by incumbent Governor Brian Kemp, Fox Business host Stuart Varney questioned the former president himself why he wouldn’t heed the advice of his GOP peers.

“What I’m hearing from a lot of Republicans is they don’t want you to look back at the 2020 election and rehash it. They want to look forward to what we’re going to do with this economy and this society in the future. ‘ Varney told Trump on Tuesday. “What do you say?”

“I will,” Trump replied. “But if you don’t study what happened and if you don’t find out, we know what happened.”

Donald Trump Election 2020
Former President Donald Trump has insisted he must focus on the 2020 election, even as other Republican leaders have urged him to move on and focus on building a future for the party. Trump speaks during the American Freedom Tour at the Austin Convention Center on May 14, 2022 in Austin, Texas
Brandon Bell/Getty

Trump insisted that while some GOP leaders have claimed he should move beyond the 2020 election, “there’s a large segment of the Republican Party that doesn’t agree with that.”

“They are very upset about it. They are very angry about what happened in the election,” the former president said. “You look at the results, I mean every one of these states, every one of these swing states and beyond, but everyone in these swing states is proven, the evidence is so massive. The problem is the press, including Fox, they don’t want to talk about it.”

Although Trump has claimed Republicans are unwilling to let go of their loss to President Joe Biden, Kemp’s win suggests the opposite is true.

Kemp became a key presidential target after he refused to contest the results of the Georgia election. When Trump confined himself to Kemp for not doing more to protect the integrity of the state’s elections, Kemp’s supporters argued that the only way forward for the Republican Party was to acknowledge Trump’s loss and find a new path to victory .

“Elections are about the future. There are those who want to make these elections about the past,” former Vice President Mike Pence told Kemp supporters at a rally Monday. “If you say yes to Gov. Brian Kemp tomorrow, you will be sending a deafening message across America that the Republican Party is the party of the future.”

That opinion has been borne out in polls, such as a Quinnipiac University poll in February, in which 52 percent of GOP voters agreed with Pence not to overturn the election results, while just 36 percent supported Trump.

Trump’s Republican critics have also warned the former president not to fixate on the past, especially in the face of other major policy issues.

Speaking of the war in Ukraine, conservative lawyer George Conway told CNN: “We are in the midst of this war in which Putin, who cannot be trusted for a moment, is assassinating political opponents, slaughtering women and children – and concentrating Donald Trump on what? Oneself? Because he wants revenge for losing the 2020 election?”

“This is Donald Trump leading the Republican Party off the cliff. This is a man for whom there is no bottom,” he said. “And Republicans are just afraid to call him.”

When Varney urged Tuesday that the host “got a sense that voters just don’t want to go back into a messy or toxic situation” but “want to look forward to the future and be positive,” Trump said it’s important to continue harping on about the 2020 election so it doesn’t happen again.

“Someone’s stealing all the jewelry from the jewelry store, you should just leave them alone, right? Just say, OK, he got away with it. You know, I’m just — I don’t agree with that,” Trump said. “And a lot of people in the party don’t agree with that, Stuart.” Trump ignored warnings that dwelling on cheating in 2020 could cost him elections

Rick Schindler

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