Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst on Thursday pushed back strongly against baseless accusations leveled by President Donald Trump’s campaign legal team that Republican and Democratic candidates may have “paid to have the system rigged” to win races in the 2020 general election.
Ernst, interviewed on Fox News’ “Guy Benson Show,” was asked about conspiracy theories floated during a press conference Thursday by one of Trump’s lawyers, Sidney Powell.
In addition to alleging, without evidence, that some ballot counting machines “flipped votes” from Trump to Joe Biden, Powell said: “In terms of the level of corruption we are looking at here, we have no idea how many Republican or Democratic candidates in any state across the country paid to have the system rigged to work for them.”
Ernst, who won reelection on Nov. 3, called the accusation “offensive.”
“For those of us who do stand up and represent our states in a dignified manner — we believe in honesty, we believe in the integrity of the election system, which is why I do believe if there is fraud out there, it should be brought to our attention. The proof should be brought forward. I think all of us agree on that,” Ernst said on Benson’s show. “But to insinuate that Republican and Democratic candidates paid to throw this election, I think is absolutely outrageous. I do take offense to that. I have fought for our country, I’ve worn our nation’s uniform to protect the values and freedoms that our nation espouses, and to have that accusation just off-handedly thrown out there, just to confuse voters across the United States, I think that is absolutely wrong.”
When asked about claims from Trump and his legal team that he won the presidential election “in a landslide,” Ernst said “there has to be proof.”
“They are working their way through the court system, which is absolutely a means of recourse for the president and his team,” Ernst said. “They have to be able to show that proof.”
When asked by Benson whether she had seen proof of the widespread voter fraud alleged by Trump and his allies, Ernst said, “I haven’t seen proof yet.”
“There are a lot of allegations out there, and that’s exactly why we have the court system, is for them to present that information to a court of law,” the senator said. “I haven’t seen it personally. I’m sure they’ll be able to present it to a judge and that’s important that they do so. While they are working through that process I continue to focus on keeping the Senate red.”
Ernst, along with most of her Republican colleagues in the Senate, has not publicly acknowledged Biden as president-elect, despite holding a 306-232 Electoral College lead over President Trump.
By Elizabeth Meyer
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