Romney defends Biden's 2020 win after Trump attacks GOP's Rounds

Sen. Mitt Romney and Sen. Mike Rounds
Sens. Mitt Romney, left, and Mike Rounds. (Photo illustration: Yahoo News; photos: Greg Nash/Pool via AP, Anna Moneymake/Getty Images)

Following an attack by former President Donald Trump, Sen Mitt Romney defended fellow Republican Sen. Mike Rounds of South Dakota on Monday for accurately stating that the 2020 election was fair and that Trump “did not win.”

In an appearance on ABC’s “This Week,” Rounds was asked what he thought of the members of his party who bought into Trump's disproven claim that his loss was attributable to voter fraud.

“We looked — as a part of our due diligence, we looked at over 60 different accusations made in multiple states,” Rounds responded. “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. The election was fair, as fair as we have seen. We simply did not win the election, as Republicans, for the presidency.”

Trump's relentless campaign to convince the nation that Biden had not actually won the election, despite a 7 million vote margin in the popular vote and a resounding 306-232 Electoral College victory, served as the basis for the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol by his supporters.

True to form, Trump released a statement on Monday in which he went after Rounds for denying his election claims, saying the senator “just went woke on the Fraudulent Presidential Election of 2020.”

“Is he crazy or just stupid?” Trump continued about the remarks Rounds made on “This Week,” adding, “The only reason he did this is because he got my endorsement and easily won his state in 2020, so now he thinks he has time, and those are the only ones, the weak, who will break away. Even though his election will not be coming up for 5 years, I will never endorse this jerk again.”

Numerous election officials, as well as Trump's own Justice Department and judges in multiple states, all concluded that the 2020 election was not marred by the kind of fraud that would have reversed the outcome.

Romney, a longtime Trump antagonist, issued a statement in the days leading up to the Jan. 6 certification of the Electoral College vote making clear his view that the election had been fairly decided and that a plan by Republican lawmakers to contest it was undemocratic.

“The egregious ploy to reject electors may enhance the political ambition of some, but dangerously threatens our Democratic Republic. The congressional power to reject electors is reserved for the most extreme and unusual circumstances. These are far from it,” Romney said in his statement. “More Americans participated in this election than ever before, and they made their choice. President Trump’s lawyers made their case before scores of courts; in every instance, they failed. The Justice Department found no evidence of irregularity sufficient to overturn the election. The Presidential Voter Fraud Commission disbanded without finding such evidence.”

After the House of Representatives impeached Trump, Romney later voted to convict the president for his role in the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. The measure ultimately did not get enough GOP votes in the Senate to convict Trump.

Romney and Rounds, however, would seem to hold a minority view within their party regarding the outcome of the 2020 election. A Yahoo News/YouGov poll released last week found that a full three-quarters of Trump voters (75 percent) falsely believe the election was “rigged and stolen,” while just 9 percent think Biden “won fair and square” — down from 13 percent last January.