CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA — In a sit-down interview with NBC that aired today, Ron DeSantis said the GOP needs to shift its focus away from what happened during the 2020 presidential election.
Treading lightly on questions regarding former President Donald Trump’s claim that he was the true winner of the 2020 presidential election, DeSantis said it’s time to move on.
“NO, OF COURSE HE LOST”
“Whoever puts their hand on the Bible on January 20 every four years is the winner,” DeSantis told NBC News correspondent Dasha Burns on Sunday. The governor went on to talk about numerous problems with the previous election, but when pressed further, he stated that Trump lost.
“But respectfully, you did not clearly answer that question,” Burns said. “And if you can’t give a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on whether or not he lost…”
“No, of course he lost,” DeSantis said. “Joe Biden’s the president.”
DeSantis made a point to address a number of problems he saw during the 2020 election, including Facebook figurehead Mark Zuckerberg’s role, state laws allowing third parties to collect ballots, widespread use of mail-in ballots due to the pandemic and social media outlets’ role in squashing the story about Hunter Biden’s laptop.
REPUBLICANS DIDN’T FIGHT BACK
“I think what people in the media and elsewhere, they want to act like somehow this was just like the perfect election,” DeSantis said. “I don’t think it was a good-run election. But I also think Republicans didn’t fight back. You’ve got to fight back when that is happening.”
DeSantis also took direct aim at Trump by stating that he set the stage for his own loss by signing the $2.2 trillion CARES Act that allocated $400 million to help states with election administration.
“Here’s the issue that I think is important for Republican voters to think about: Why did we have all those mail votes?” DeSantis asked. “Because Trump turned the government over to Fauci.”
“A POSITIVE VISION FOR THE FUTURE”
Focusing too much on Trump and his legal trouble is something DeSantis says could be problematic for Republicans. While he did not attack Trump on his indictments during the interview, he did add that the charges are “not fair if it [the government] is weaponized.”
“If the election is a referendum on Joe Biden’s policies and the failures that we’ve seen and we are presenting a positive vision for the future, we will win the presidency, and we will have a chance to turn the country around,” DeSantis said.
“If, on the other hand, the election is not about January 20, 2025 – but January 6, 2021 – or what document was left by the toilet at Mar-a-Lago – if it’s a referendum on that, we are going to lose,” DeSantis said.