Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday expressed his support for GOP Sen. Mike Rounds (S.D.), who earlier this week was attacked by former President Trump after saying the 2020 presidential election was fair.
“I think Sen. Rounds told the truth about what happened in the 2020 election,” McConnell told CNN. “And I agree with him.”
While appearing on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday, Rounds shot down Trump’s claims that the presidential election was affected by voter fraud, saying President Biden’s victory was legitimate.
“While there were some irregularities, there were none of the irregularities which would have risen to the point where they would have changed the vote outcome in a single state,” said Rounds. “We simply did not win the election as Republicans for the presidency.”
Shortly after Rounds made his remarks, Trump released a statement attacking the South Dakota senator and repeating his baseless claims that the election was fraudulent. Trump called Rounds “a weak and ineffective leader,” adding, “I hereby firmly pledge that he will never receive my Endorsement again!”
Rounds responded to Trump on Monday, saying he was “disappointed but not surprised” by the former president’s reaction.
“As a Republican Party, our focus should be on what lies ahead, not what’s in the past. Elections are about growing support for your party, not further dividing it,” he said.
Other Republicans have come to Rounds’s defense, including Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, who said Rounds spoke the “truth knowing that our Republic depends upon it.” Other Republican lawmakers similarly echoed what Rounds said and argued that it was time for the party to move on.
“I don’t think re-litigating or rehashing the past is a winning strategy,” fellow South Dakota Sen. John Thune (R) said. “If we want to be a majority in 2023, we’ve got to get out and articulate what we’re going to do with respect to the future the American people are going to live and the things they’re going to care about when it comes to economic issues, national security issues.”