Iowa GOP Leaders Back Trump As He Still Repeats False Claims

People gather ahead of an appearance by former President Donald Trump at a rally at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa, Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021. (AP)
Thomas Beaumont and Hope Yen
The Associated Press

Republican Sen. Charles Grassley and Gov. Kim Reynolds embraced Donald Trump’s return to Iowa last Saturday, standing by the former president as he repeated his false claims of voter fraud and a stolen election to a crowd of thousands.

The state’s senior senator, who recently announced plans to run for an eighth six-year term, praised Trump as he introduced him by noting there was “a great crowd honoring a great president of the United States.”

Neither Grassley nor Reynolds made any reference to Trump’s post-presidency, during which he has continued to lie about the results and urge Republicans to conduct “audits” of the vote counts. Reynolds, also seeking reelection next year, gushed with praise for Trump in her brief remarks.

Trump spent almost 30 minutes of the rally, his first in Iowa since his 2020 campaign, arguing falsely that he had won Arizona, Georgia and Pennsylvania.

“Trump won! Trump won! Trump won!” came the chant from the crowd spread across the sprawling Iowa state fairgrounds.

“He did. He did. Thank you,” Trump said.

Representatives for Grassley and Reynolds did not respond this past week to requests for comment on whether they agreed with Trump’s statement on Wednesday that the “real insurrection” was the election, not the storming of the Capitol by Trump supporters determined to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s election.

Grassley, who voted to certify the vote, has been quiet about Trump’s continuing claims of a stolen election. Asked in July, he said. “On Dec. 12, after the electoral votes were cast, Biden is the president of the United States.”

Last Saturday night, Trump endorsed Grassley and pledged to endorse Reynolds separately in the months ahead.

In January, when asked if she and other Republican leaders should have more quickly rejected false claims of election fraud, the governor said people need to stop pointing fingers and move forward.

Last Sunday, the House’s second-ranking Republican, Rep. Steve Scalise, repeatedly refused to say the 2020 election wasn’t stolen.

“I’ve been very clear from the beginning,” he said. “If you look at a number of states, they didn’t follow their state-passed laws that govern the election for president. That is what the United States Constitution says. They don’t say the states determine what the rules are. They say the state legislatures determine the rules,” the Louisiana congressman said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Pressed by moderator Chris Wallace on whether the election went beyond a few irregularities to be considered “stolen,” Scalise responded: “It’s not just irregularities. It’s states that did not follow the laws set which the Constitution says they’re supposed to follow.”

In fact, no election was stolen from Trump. His former attorney general, William Barr, found no evidence of widespread election corruption. Allegations of massive voting fraud also have been dismissed by a succession of judges and refuted by state election officials and an arm of the Homeland Security Department during the Trump administration.

Scalise appeared to be referring to the legal argument, made in several lawsuits backed by Trump before and after last November’s election, that the Constitution gives the power of election administration exclusively to state lawmakers. The suits sought to invalidate a number of pandemic-era accommodations including expanded mail voting that were put in place by governors, state election officials and judges.

The high court ultimately turned away the cases, declining to rule on the matter. There’s no indication in any of the suits that changing the COVID-19 accommodations would have altered a state’s election results.

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