(The Center Square) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis rebuffed former President Donald Trump’s claims that the 2020 election was stolen.
DeSantis, who trails Trump in the Republican presidential primary ahead of the 2024 election, had not been so direct and outspoken about the election integrity issue in the same way until this weekend.
“No, of course he lost,” DeSantis said in an interview with NBC news when directly asked if Trump lost the election. “Joe Biden is the president.”
DeSantis did say the election had issues but would not go as far as Trump, who now faces federal charges for his role in contesting that election.
“But the issue is, I think what people in the media and elsewhere, they want to act like somehow this was just like the perfect election … I don’t think it was a good-run election,” Desantis continued.
DeSantis went on to argue that the problems with the 2020 election were largely Trump’s fault because Trump allowed COVID-19 lockdowns, which laid the groundwork for widespread election policy changes. Trump also signed the CARES Act, which gave federal funds for mail-in ballots, which became a crucial sticking point in the 2020 debate over election integrity.
“Donald Trump signed that bill that funded those mail ballots that Republicans have been so concerned about,” DeSantis said. “Also with the censorship of Hunter Biden. That was Donald Trump’s FBI. He didn’t have control over his own government.”
The latest New York Times/Siena College poll showed that among Republicans, Trump has 54% support and DeSantis has 17% support.