The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Four months after Biden’s inauguration, Republicans are still questioning his legitimacy

More than a half dozen Republicans have refused to say whether President Biden won legitimately in the months since Biden’s inauguration. (Video: JM Rieger/The Washington Post)

As House Republicans prepared to elevate Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) to leadership last week — even as she continued to question the legitimacy of President Biden’s election — House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) made a pronouncement.

“I don’t think anybody is questioning the legitimacy of the presidential election,” McCarthy said on May 12, 112 days after Biden was inaugurated. “I think that is all over with. We’re sitting here with the president today.”

Except Republicans have continued to do exactly that — even after McCarthy’s remarks.

Thursday marked four months since Biden was sworn in, and it has been more than six months since the election was called for Biden. Yet, numerous Republicans have dodged questions about the legitimacy of Biden’s win in recent months, according to a Fix review. You can watch examples of these dodges in the video above.

Two days before McCarthy’s comment, Stefanik refused to say that Biden was legitimately elected, saying “Biden is president” and pointing to “election irregularities and an unconstitutional overreach” by certain states in administering the election.

The day before McCarthy’s comment, former president Donald Trump falsely called the 2020 presidential election “rigged and stolen.”

And two days after McCarthy’s comment, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) told reporters that she has “a lot of questions about the election.”

Republicans repeatedly questioned Biden’s win in the lead up to his inauguration: 126 House Republicans signed onto an amicus brief to overturn the election results in four states, and 147 congressional Republicans voted to reject the election results after a mob stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6. Of the Republicans who acknowledged Biden’s win before his inauguration, many took weeks or months after the election was called to do so.

Since the inauguration, Republicans have pivoted when asked directly whether Biden won legitimately, saying: “Biden is the president” but that they have “questions” about the election. Except these “questions” have been repeatedly resolved in the courts and stating a fact that Biden is the president sidesteps the question of whether the 2020 election was fair and legitimate (it was). House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) employed this dodge in February and Republican Study Committee Chairman Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) used it earlier this month.

On Thursday, Trump repeated his bogus claim about the 2020 election to One America News.

“The Republican voter, that’s what they want to hear. They want to hear about 2020. They want to find out, is that something that should be turned over?” Trump said. ”…The election was rigged and stolen.”

It had been eight days since McCarthy said that no one was questioning the legitimacy of the election.

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