RNC under Lara Trump spreads ‘massive fraud’ claims about 2020 election



CNN
 — 

The Republican National Committee last week sent out a scripted call to voters’ phones on behalf of new co-chair Lara Trump saying Democrats committed “massive fraud” in the 2020 election.

It’s the latest example of how the RNC under the former president’s daughter-in-law is perpetuating lies about the 2020 election, even as prominent Republicans say the party needs to look forward to win in 2024.

“We all know the problems. No photo IDs, unsecured ballot drop boxes, mass mailing of ballots, and voter rolls chock full of deceased people and non-citizens are just a few examples of the massive fraud that took place,” the RNC call said. “If Democrats have their way, your vote could be canceled out by someone who isn’t even an American citizen.”

The claim of “massive fraud” in the 2020 election marks a significant shift in messaging for the RNC because lies about the 2020 election had not been a consistent theme in its messaging since Donald Trump left office.

But the call’s message is largely consistent with the views publicly espoused over the past four years by Lara Trump, who was elected as co-chair in early March as part of Donald Trump’s takeover of the GOP. Lara Trump has a long history of echoing his election fraud claims, according to a CNN KFile analysis of her past statements as a commentator and surrogate for the former president.

“I’m sure you agree with co-chair Trump that we cannot allow the chaos and questions of the 2020 election to ever happen again,” said the call, which was obtained by CNN’s KFile from the anti-robocall application Nomorobo, which estimated 145,000 calls were sent with the message from April 1-7.

It comes amid previous CNN reporting about the RNC asking employees who are reapplying for their jobs whether they believe the 2020 election was stolen in an apparent litmus test for hiring. The RNC denied any such litmus test existed. Lara Trump and new chair Michael Whatley succeeded Drew McKissick and Ronna McDaniel, who had earned the ire of the former president because of his dissatisfaction with how the RNC handled claims of fraud around the 2020 election, CNN previously reported.

There is no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election, as even some state GOP election officials and former Trump Attorney General William Barr have acknowledged. The former president and his supporters filed more than 60 court cases in six key battleground states following the election and lost every one of them. And, they have still not brought forth any evidence of the rampant cheating they continue to talk about on the campaign trail.

But in the years since the 2020 election, Lara Trump has continued to push claims of fraud. Her comments have been in line with those of her father-in-law, who’s successfully reshaped the GOP in his image and easily secured his third-straight GOP nomination this year.

Polling, for example, shows that a majority of GOP voters think the 2020 election result was illegitimate. A CNN poll released last September found that 71% of Republicans said President Joe Biden’s “did not legitimately win enough votes to win the presidency.”

From November 2020 to February 2024, Lara Trump propagated the narrative of Democratic cheating in the 2020 presidential election. And even after she was elected co-chair and said claims of a stolen election are “in the past,” she didn’t repudiate those baseless accusations.

“Well, I think we’re past that. I think that’s in the past. We learned a lot. Certainly, we took a lot of notes,” Trump said in an NBC interview when asked whether claims of a stolen 2020 election would be the official position of the RNC in 2024. She went on to tout lawsuits across 23 states “to ensure that it is harder to cheat and easier to vote,” while raising questions about pandemic-era voting procedures during the 2020 election.

In the same interview, Trump also added the GOP needed to “trust mail-in voting.”

Neither the RNC nor Lara Trump responded to multiple requests for comment.

Cecile Clocheret/AFP/Getty Images

Lara Trump speaks at the Republican National Committee spring meeting on March 8, in Houston.

As recently as February 2024, Lara Trump said she did not believe Biden received 81 million votes in the 2020 election.

“Does anyone actually believe that in 2020, 81 million people were so inspired by a guy who could only get 10 people (to attended events) …that he had the most massive turnout in the history of elections?” she said at a Trump event in South Carolina just days before she announced her campaign for RNC co-chair. “No, we don’t believe that.”

On her internet show and podcast, and in public events, she often spread outlandish and nonsensical claims about the 2020 election.

On an episode of her show that aired on December 30, 2020, Trump agreed with her co-hosts that the election did not pass the “smell test” and falsely suggested that dead voters helped Biden win.

“Now, I don’t know if this is true, but somebody sent me this. Donald Trump got 74 million votes. There are 133 million registered voters in the United States. If every single registered voter went out and voted, which we know is basically impossible, doesn’t happen, there would only be 59 million votes left for Joe Biden. So how the heck did he get 81 million votes?” she said.

The comments cite a widely debunked analysis that misrepresents the number of people eligible to vote.

“You’re discriminating against all the dead people, Lara. How dare you!” said one co-host.

“Oh yeah, that’s right. That’s true,” she responded.

A CNN analysis previously found no evidence to support this claim, debunking the misinformation spread by Trump supporters online in the aftermath of the 2020 results.

The 2020 election saw a record-breaking turnout, with 155 million people casting their votes, as reported by the US Census Bureau. This marked the highest voter participation of the 21st century, with 66.8% of eligible citizens aged 18 and older voting.

Later in the episode, Trump said, “I think that [Democrats] know that the Republicans are not gonna let it stand. They’re not gonna certify votes for Joe Biden. And it is likely that they will be voting for Donald Trump for a second term.”

In an episode of her podcast weeks earlier, she claimed the odds of Biden winning in swing states were “one in one quadrillion to the fourth power,” as mail-in ballots were counted, failing to cite a statistical analysis.

Though Biden narrowly lost with in-person voters, 46% of voters voted by mail in 2020. As votes were counted, Biden pulled ahead, according to an analysis from Pew Research.

Though nothing was abnormal or illegal about the process, Lara Trump has also referred to the counting of votes nefariously.

“We gotta make up so much for all the cheating,” Trump said on her podcast in September 2023. “We know the Democrats love to do that. We need to go into this thing with such a big lead that they’re like, ‘oh my God, we can’t do a 3:00 a.m. spike with this. We’re never gonna make it.”


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