October 19 2021
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Previous story Republicans' conflicting message: Embracing Trump election lie is key to prominence, just stop asking us about it Next story


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Cheney highlights what she considers to be the hypocrisy of the party’s positions. More than 90 judges and courts rejected lawsuits seeking to overturn the (election) outcome.
Published on May 16, 2021 9:06 AM

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House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), introduces Rep. Elise Stefanik ( R-N.Y.) on May 14, 2021, moments after she was elected chair of the House Republican Conference, replacing Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.). (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
The Republican Party's contorted response to Donald Trump's false claim that the election was stolen was on stark display as House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy stood in the White House driveway.

McCarthy (R-Calif.) had helped engineer the ouster Wednesday of Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) as the No. 3 House Republican leader for saying former president Trump's claim of a stolen election was a lie. Yet he insisted later that day, "I don't think anybody is questioning the legitimacy of the presidential election."

In fact, the majority of Republicans — spurred on by Trump and party leaders who for months have been spreading falsehoods and sowing doubts — say in polls that they still question the legitimacy of the election. Trump has continued to spread his lie, writing on his blog on Tuesday that he lost in "an election rigged and stolen from us."

While many Republican members of Congress have acknowledged the reality of Joe Biden's ascension to the White House, a number still twist themselves into political knots to avoid saying he did so fairly.

The result is that, as the week's events dramatically unfolded, Republicans are still embracing, or at least tolerating, falsehoods about the election, setting it as a red line for those who want prominence in what essentially remains Trump's party. Party leaders say they want to focus on the future and not re-litigate the election, but their allegiance to Trump means they can't get away from his focus on the past...