Top GOP senator urges Trump to stop ‘ruminating’ 2020 race as Trump pushes fraud claims at AZ rally
John Thune (pictured with his wife) is the No. 2 Republican Senator behind minority leader Mitch McConnell
Senate GOP Whip John Thune urged Donald Trump to stop “ruminating” claims that Saturday’s 2020 election was rigged in President Joe Biden’s favor.
The South Dakota legislature told… Fox that he would “welcome” the ex-president’s help to regain control of his party in Congress in the upcoming midterm elections — but added that discussing the conspiracy theory about the presidential race could push them back.
Hours later, Trump landed in Arizona to stage his first rally of the year, where he again voiced his grievances around November 2020.
Thune is the No. 2 Republican senator behind minority leader Mitch McConnell, and is widely seen as his likely successor to lead the Senate GOP.
“To the extent that President Trump can be helpful, can contribute to ‘winning back the majority of the Senate,’ we welcome that,” Thune said.
“But I think every time we talk about the 2020 election and repeat that, it takes our eyes off the final prize.”
He claimed the key to a successful election was progress — a veiled jab at Trump and his congressional allies still fighting a two-year feud over who won the White House.
“I think most Republican senators understand that in order to be successful as a country, we need to regain the majority in the Senate, and that means focusing on the future, not the past,” Thune said.
“We welcome the former president’s support for that, but hope he plays a constructive role and contributes to help us win back the majority by 2022.”
McConnell’s deputy admitted that Trump is still making “attempts” to influence the Republican party, but that his complaints of voter fraud are secondary to the Senate GOP’s priority to hold Biden accountable.
“President Trump still has a huge following among our supporters across the country and, you know, exerts that influence, or at least tries to, on a daily basis,” Thune said.
“But I think ultimately for us as Republican senators our job is to try to get the majority back in 2022 and provide that control and balance against this crazy agenda of the Biden administration.”
Hours later, Trump landed in Florence, Arizona, where he told a charged crowd that the state had “taken” from him during the latest presidential race.
He lost the state of Grand Canyon to Biden by a razor-thin margin of 49.4 percent to 49.1 percent.
“Last year we had a rigged election and the evidence is everywhere,” the former president said.
He urged Trump to stop bringing up the 2020 election hours before the ex-president defended himself against it at his rally
The Republican Party is deeply divided over views on the integrity of the latest presidential race
He then referred to the monicker Democrats and the media assigned to his 2020 conspiracy theories.
“We have a lot of evidence and they know it’s evidence. They always talk about the Big Lie, they are the Big Lie,” Trump said.
“The Big Lie is a whole lot of bulls**t, that’s what it is.”
After some speculation that he would retire at the end of this year, Thune announced last week that he would seek another six-year term in the Senate.
Part of his increasing fatigue with his office had to do with Trump’s iron grip on his caucus, the… New York Times had reported.
“I always promised I would do the job even if it was difficult, uncomfortable or unpopular,” Thune said in a statement. Twitter.
Trump called on Thune to face a primary challenge in late 2020 after the senator said his allegations of voter fraud would drop “like a shot dog.”
‘He gets primary in 2022, political career over!!!’ Trump had said.
He also mocked Thune as a RINO, or Republican In Name Only, a frequently used insult by the former president to GOP lawmakers who disagree with him.