White House hits back at Scalise over refusal to say 2020 election wasn’t stolen
The White House on Sunday blasted House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.), arguing now is not a “time to perpetrate long-discredited conspiracy theories,” after the Louisiana Republican refused to answer whether the 2020 election was stolen when pressed several times on ABC News’s “This Week.”
“Election denial is a dangerous conspiracy theory that has done unprecedented harm to the country and has been comprehensively debunked by over 80 federal judges, as well as the Trump Administration’s national security officials,” White House spokesperson Andrew Bates wrote in a statement Sunday.
Reiterating President Biden’s call for Republicans and Democrats in Congress to work together in good faith, Bates said now “is not a time to perpetuate long-discredited conspiracy theories that fueled an assault on the Capitol and tear Americans apart,” in reference to the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol insurrection.
Earlier Sunday, ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos asked Scalise about conservative Rep. Ken Buck’s (R-Colo.) decision to leave Congress and his remark that “too many Republican leaders are lying to America, claiming that the 2020 election was stolen.”
Scalise avoided responding directly, instead pointing to the work he’s done with Buck and that at the end of the day, “getting our country back on track is our focus.”
When Stephanopoulos asked Scalise if he could “unequivocally the 2020 election was not stolen?” Scalise dodged the question, responding, “What I’ve told you, there are states that didn’t follow their laws. That is what the state constitution — the U.S. Constitution requires.”
Stephanopoulus noted this what not what he asked, repeated the question to Scalise, who said, “We’ve talked about 2020 a lot,” and that the “focus” is on the future.
The back-and-forth exchange continued as Scalise refused to answer, instead claiming certain states “didn’t follow the laws that are on their books.” This argument was frequently used among voters of former President Trump, who claimed the changes during the pandemic allowed for mail-in ballots and other ways to boost voter participation violated state law.
Scalise is among several GOP lawmakers who are attempting to move on from the 2020 election without provoking the ire of former President Trump.
More than 100 House lawmakers — including Scalise — voted to overturn the 2020 presidential election results in Arizona, Pennsylvania or both during Congress’s official Electoral College count in January 2021.