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Chuck Todd clashes with Dan Crenshaw over GOP fraud claims: ‘Why should anybody believe a word you say?’

NBC host Chuck Todd clashed with Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Tex.) over the rationale behind House Republicans voting to oust Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) as caucus chair. (NBC)

Days after House Republicans ousted Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) from her leadership position for challenging former president Donald Trump’s false claims of election fraud, Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Tex.) on Sunday insisted that the conflict doesn’t interest most Americans.

Instead, he argued, voters want to hear about border security, inflation, and the gas crisis. “These are things that affect people, not this internal drama,” Crenshaw said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

But host Chuck Todd pushed back, noting that Trump continues to make baseless claims that the election was stolen — a view that many GOP leaders have declined to challenge or openly embraced.

“Why should anybody believe a word you say if the Republican Party itself doesn’t have credibility?” Todd asked.

The fiery exchange, which went viral on Twitter with one clip racking up more than 1 million views, offers vivid evidence of the challenge Republicans face in shifting the conversation from Trump’s election lies months after his loss and the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by his followers.

"Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd and Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Tex.) argued on May 16 over the Republican Party's credibility in the face of 2020 election claims. (Video: NBC News)

Cheney, who voted to impeach Trump after the riots, was booted from her House leadership role on Wednesday after lambasting Republicans for not standing up to the former president’s falsehoods. That same day, a number of Republicans sought to minimize the violence at the insurrection, with Rep. Andrew S. Clyde (R-Ga.) even comparing it to a “normal tourist visit.”

On Sunday, though, Crenshaw argued that Cheney wasn’t kicked out of her role for standing up to Trump, noting that she survived a referendum on her leadership shortly after she voted to impeach him.

“Liz did not apologize and she said she would not apologize and she still won that vote overwhelmingly to be a leader in our conference,” he told Todd. “The reason that a lot of our colleagues got more frustrated with her is because effectively she kept demanding that everyone else apologize.”

Noting that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said last week that arguments about the election’s result are “all over with,” Crenshaw said that within the party “there is disagreement, but it’s time to move on.”

But Todd suggested that distinction was meaningless as long as the GOP fails to unite against Trump’s insistence that election was stolen.

“Sitting here and saying, ‘Oh, there’s disagreement about the election.’ Look, there’s not disagreement about the facts,” Todd said. “Do any of your critiques come across as credible if you can’t accept the fundamental fact that our democracy held a free and fair election?”

Crenshaw noted that he was not among the dozens of House Republicans who voted against certifying President Biden’s victories in Pennsylvania and Arizona, but Todd fired back that he did sign onto a lawsuit by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) to invalidate the results in four swing states.

Crenshaw in response argued that the media had miscast that suit, calling it a “simple question to the Supreme Court” about election methods in those states.

Todd retorted, “You’re sitting here trying to say, ‘No, no, no, I just had a specific question,’ yet what you did gets weaponized by the former president,” noting that Trump this weekend again issued statements falsely claiming that the Arizona voting was tainted. (That outburst prompted the Republican who heads the elections department in Maricopa County to call Trump’s claims “unhinged.”)

Crenshaw then accused the “largely liberal” and “pro-Democrat” news media of feeding the narrative that Republicans are still fighting over the election’s results.

“Don’t start that. There’s nothing lazier than that excuse,” Todd replied.