Federalist Editor Pitches Fit Over DeSantis Acknowledging Trump Lost: Must Say 2020 Election Was ‘Rigged’ to Win The Primary

Then-President Donald Trump at rally in Washington on January 6

Jacquelyn Martin, AP Photo

The Federalist’s John Daniel Davidson is calling on Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to forcefully endorse the theory that the 2020 election was rigged against Donald Trump if he hopes to beat Trump out for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024.

In a column headlined “Does DeSantis Know What Time It Is? Didn’t Sound Like It In That NBC Interview” (some members of the terminally online right use the term “know what time it is” to describe being aware of what it will take to defeat the left in the political sphere) Davidson took issue with DeSantis’s answers to NBC’s Dasha Burns’s questions about the 2020 election.

“Of course he lost. Joe Biden’s the president,” said DeSantis after Burns pressed him for a clear answer about the 2020 election.

“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 of Trump turned the government over to [Anthony] Fauci. They embraced lockdowns. They did the CARES Act, which funded mail-in ballots across the country,” continued DeSantis.

This answer, which acknowledged both the reality of Trump’s defeat and the election’s imperfections, left Davidson more than a little miffed.

“The plain truth is that no issue is more important for DeSantis (and the entire GOP field) than the 2020 election, and if he wants to be the nominee he’d better come up with a better answer than, ‘Yeah 2020 had some problems but they were all Trump’s fault,'” submitted the senior editor. “DeSantis has zero chance of winning the primary unless he acknowledges unequivocally that 2020 was rigged and vows to go to war against the system that rigged it. He shouldn’t be attacking Trump on this front, but the deep state-Democrat-Big Tech machine that took Trump out. It’s his only path to the nomination, yet he has refused thus far to follow it.”

Davidson went on to bemoan the investigation into Trump’s ties with Russia and conclude that “the least any Republican can do” is “simply and clearly acknowledge what happened and vow to ensure it never happens again.”

“So far DeSantis, despite his manifest talents and considerable achievements as governor of Florida, has not been able to meet this low bar,” he complained.

Davidson’s boss, editor-in-chief Mollie Hemingway, is a diehard Trump supporter and the author of Rigged: How the Media, Big Tech, and the Democrats Seized Our Elections.

Before Republicans’ largely disappointing performance in the 2022 midterms, Hemingway prematurely wrote that if Republicans won a resounding win, they should “thank the election integrity movement.”

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