(The Hill) — Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis (R) in an interview broadcast on Monday dismissed former President Donald Trump’s repeated claims that he won the 2020 election, saying “of course” Trump lost.
During the interview, which will air on NBC Nightly News Monday evening, the Florida governor was asked by NBC News correspondent Dasha Burns whether he believed Trump won the 2020 election, and he replied that “whoever puts their hand on the Bible on Jan. 20 every four years is the winner.”
When pushed for a yes or no answer, DeSantis replied, “No, of course he lost. Joe Biden’s the president.”
The interview comes after Trump’s latest indictment over his attempts to stay in power after losing the 2020 election to President Joe Biden. The 45-page indictment alleges Trump led a campaign of “dishonest, fraud and conceit” to obstruct a “bedrock function” of a democracy.”
DeSantis’s comments to NBC News echo what he said at a campaign event in Iowa on Friday, when he stated that the theories about fraud in the 2020 election “did not prove to be true.”
DeSantis during the interview brought up problems he saw with the 2020 election, however, such as Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s grants for election administration, the availability of mail-in ballots and how state laws allow third parties to collect and return voters’ ballots.
The Florida governor also mentioned Biden’s son, Hunter, and the controversy over his laptop.
“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,” he said. “But I also think Republicans didn’t fight back. You’ve got to fight back when that is happening.”
Additionally, DeSantis blamed Trump for the loss, shining a spotlight on Trump’s signing of the CARES Act, the $2 trillion COVID relief package signed into law in March 2020. About $400 million went to help states with election administration, with many states making voting by mail more widely available during the pandemic.
“But here’s the issue that I think is important for Republican voters to think about: Why did we have all those mail votes? Because … Trump turned the government over to Fauci,” the Florida governor said, referring to Dr. Anthony Fauci, a White House Coronavirus Task Force leader. “They embraced lockdowns. They did the CARES Act, which funded mail-in ballots across the country.”