Stephanopoulos presses Scalise on whether 2020 election was stolen: ‘Yes or no?’

House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) refused to answer whether the 2020 election was stolen when pressed eight separate times in a Sunday interview with ABC News’s George Stephanopoulos.

Asked about conservative Rep. Ken Buck’s (R-Colo.) decision to leave Congress and his departing remark that “too many Republican leaders are lying to America, claiming that the 2020 election was stolen,” Scalise avoided responding directly in the interview on ABC News’s “This Week.”

“Well, Ken, I’ve worked with on a number of issues, including getting spending under control, getting our economy back on track. He’s talked about that 2020 election as well. You and I have, I think, have talked about that too,” Scalise said. “At the end of the day, getting our country back on track is our focus. And that’s what we’re focused on right now.”

“Can you say unequivocally the 2020 election was not stolen?” Stephanopoulos asked Scalise, after the congressman detailed several other legislative priorities for the party.

Scalise dodged the question.

“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,” he said. “Every state ought to follow the laws that are on their books. That’s what the U.S. Constitution says.”

“That’s not what I asked,” Stephanopoulos retorted. “I said, can you say unequivocally that the 2020 election was not stolen?”

“Look, Joe Biden’s president. I know you and others want to talk about 2020. We’re focused on the future. We’ve talked about 2020 a lot. We’re talking about how to get our country back on track, how to get our economy moving, how to stand up to the bad actors around the world,” Scalise said.

“Congressman, I know that Joe Biden is president. I’m asking you a different question. Can you say unequivocally that the 2020 election was not stolen?” Stephanopoulos said, continuing to press him.

Scalise dodged again, citing certain states that he claimed “didn’t follow the laws that are on their books, which is what the U.S. Constitution says they have to do.”

Scalise’s argument is a reiteration of a frequent concern predominantly among voters of former President Trump. They argued that the changes made during the pandemic to allow for mail-in ballots and other measures encouraging voter participation somehow violated state law — even though the changes were largely passed through state legislatures or other legal procedures.

“So you, so you just refuse to say unequivocally that the 2020 election was not stolen?” Stephanopoulos said again.

“You want to keep rehashing 2020. We’re talking about the future,” Scalise said, as the two spoke over each other.

“I just want an answer to the question, yes or no?”

“We’ve asked — look, we’ve talked about this before. But, again, will you acknowledge that there were states that didn’t follow the actual state legislative enacted laws on their book, which the U.S. Constitution says they’re supposed to do?” Scalise said, again refusing to answer.

“I know that every court that looked at whether the election was stolen said it wasn’t, rejected those claims. And I asked you a very, very simple question. Now I’ve asked it, I think, the fifth time that you can’t appear to answer. Can you say unequivocally that the 2020 election was not stolen?”

The exchange continued without coming to any ultimate resolution.

Scalise’s refusal to say that the election was fairly decided is reflective of the challenge many GOP politicians face as they try to avoid upsetting the former president — by saying he lost in 2020 — while also trying to move on.

Scalise was among the two-thirds of the House Republican Conference to vote against certifying the election in all states after the House reconvened on the night of Jan. 6, 2021, to vote on objections to two states.

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