According to Mediaite, House Speaker Mike Johnson, the highest-ranking elected Republican in the United States, defended former President Donald Trump’s election denialism during an appearance on CNBC’s Squawk Box.
Host Joe Kernen questioned Johnson about Trump’s unfounded belief that the 2020 election was stolen. Kernen expressed concern about the dangerous precedent of returning someone to office who wasn’t willing to leave, even if they knew they had lost.
He suggested that Trump may still believe he won the election, and Johnson responded, “I take him at his word. I do believe that he believes that.” As one of Trump’s lawyers and a member of the impeachment defense team, Johnson stated that he knows how Trump thinks.
He argued that Trump is convinced he was entitled to victory due to what he perceives as irregularities in the election process. CNBC host Andrew Ross Sorkin challenged Johnson on Trump’s repeated dissemination of inaccurate information.
Sorkin used the analogy of Trump saying it’s raining when it’s sunny outside, highlighting the difficulty many Americans have in trusting such statements.
Johnson downplayed Trump’s rhetoric, comparing it to inaccuracies from other politicians in Washington. He acknowledged that people in D.C. say things that are not accurate, but he insisted that Trump’s belief in the election being stolen is a deep conviction. Johnson emphasized that, based on personal conversations, Trump genuinely believes he was cheated in the election.
This defense from the highest-ranking elected Republican showcases the ongoing support for Trump within the party, despite the controversies surrounding his claims of election fraud.
The discussion reflects the broader challenge of navigating political trust and truthfulness in a highly polarized environment.
If he did know that he lost the election, was trying to say, then that’s a dangerous precedent to return someone to the office that wasn’t going to leave office, even if he knew for a fact that he had,” Kernen said. “So I guess you would argue that he really believed at that point, and maybe he still believes that he won the election?”
“I TAKE HIM AT HIS WORD,” JOHNSON REPLIED.”I DO BELIEVE THAT HE BELIEVES THAT. REMEMBER, I WAS ONE OF HIS LAWYERS. I WORKED ON THE IMPEACHMENT DEFENSE TEAM TWICE IN THE HOUSE TO DEFEND HIS POSITIONS. AND I KNOW HOW HE THINKS. AND HE’S CONVINCED THAT BECAUSE OF ALL THE IRREGULARITIES AND EVERYTHING ELSE, THAT HE WAS STILL ENTITLED TO THAT.”
“THERE HAVE BEEN THINGS THAT HE HAS SAID WHERE — RIGHT NOW, BY THE WAY, IT’S SUNNY OUTSIDE, BUT IT’S LIKE HE’S SAYING IT’S RAINING,” SORKIN SAID. “AND I THINK FOR A LOT OF AMERICANS, THEY LOOK AT THAT, AND THEY SAY THAT’S VERY HARD TO TRUST.”