DeSantis breaks with Trump over 2020 election results

DeSantis says Trump lost the 2020 election

Florida Governor and Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis has finally acknowledged that Donald Trump lost the 2020 election to Joe Biden, after years of avoiding direct answers on the matter. In an interview with NBC News that aired on Sunday, DeSantis said “of course he lost” when asked about Trump’s claims that the election was rigged and stolen from him. “Joe Biden’s the president,” DeSantis added.


DeSantis’ remarks are his most definitive comments on the issue since the 2020 election, which Trump and his allies have repeatedly challenged with baseless allegations of fraud and irregularities. Federal and state election officials, Trump’s own attorney general, and dozens of courts have rejected these claims and affirmed Biden’s victory. Last week, Trump was charged by Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith with four felonies related to his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election in the run-up to the violent riot by his supporters at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

DeSantis criticizes Trump and Republicans for not fighting back

DeSantis, who is widely seen as a potential rival to Trump in the 2024 Republican primary, has often sidestepped questions about whether he believes the 2020 election results were legitimate. But in recent days, he has started publicly questioning the lies that Trump and his allies have spread about the election’s validity. On Friday, during a campaign stop in Iowa, DeSantis said that “all those theories that were put out did not prove to be true” and that they were “unsubstantiated”. He also said that he did not think the election was “conducted the way I think we want to” but that it was different from saying that Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro stole votes or something like that.

DeSantis also blamed Trump for setting the stage for his own loss by signing the CARES Act, a $2.2 trillion economic stimulus bill in response to the Covid-19 crisis. About $400 million of that money went to help states with election administration, and many states made voting by mail more widely available during the pandemic. DeSantis said that Trump turned the government over to Anthony Fauci, former director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and embraced lockdowns. “They did the CARES Act, which funded mail-in ballots across the country,” DeSantis said.

DeSantis also criticized Republicans for not fighting back against the changes in voting methods that he said favored Democrats. He said that Republicans should embrace mail voting and so-called “ballot harvesting”, which allows third parties to collect and return voters’ ballots, even though he has opposed these practices in Florida. “We are going to do it, too. We’re not going to fight with one hand tied behind our backs,” DeSantis said.

DeSantis casts himself as a better implementer of Trump’s politics

DeSantis has cast himself on the campaign trail as someone who could more successfully implement Trump’s politics and policies, especially on issues such as immigration, Covid-19, and education. He has also walked a wobbly line between criticizing Trump’s actions and appealing to his base of supporters. DeSantis has praised Trump for his achievements in office, such as appointing conservative judges, confronting China, and promoting vaccine development. He has also defended Trump from impeachment charges and accusations of inciting violence on Jan. 6.

However, DeSantis has also distanced himself from some of Trump’s controversies and missteps, such as his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, his attacks on Fauci and other public health officials, his endorsement of some fringe candidates and conspiracy theories, and his refusal to concede the 2020 election. DeSantis has also tried to carve out his own identity and agenda as a governor and a presidential candidate, focusing on issues such as banning critical race theory in schools, cracking down on social media censorship, protecting free speech on college campuses, and promoting economic recovery and job creation.

DeSantis has also said that Republicans will lose against Biden in 2024 if they keep dwelling on the past and relitigating the 2020 election. He has urged Republicans to look forward and present a positive vision for the future of the country. He has also said that he is not concerned about Trump’s potential endorsement or involvement in the 2024 race, saying that he will run on his own record and merits.

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