Opinion: Trump can’t move on from 2020 – and that may help Congress act

We saw again this week in Georgia how Donald Trump can’t stop talking about election fraud that never happened in the 2020 election.

Ironically, those never-ending false claims by Trump may actually help push Congress to eliminate the chance of a back-door electoral vote scheme that Trump wanted to use as a way to reverse his election loss.

In Georgia, Trump’s ongoing election grievances played a starring role in his endorsement of David Perdue in the state’s GOP primary for Governor.

“Brian Kemp let us down,” Trump said, again, insinuating that the Republican Governor of Georgia was insufficiently loyal about claims of fraud.

Trump’s comments were among a flurry of statements in the past week about 2020, as he expressed dismay that Vice President Mike Pence didn’t block certain electoral votes on Jan. 6, 2021.

“Unfortunately, he didn’t exercise that power,” Trump said of Pence. “He could have overturned the election!”

Those remarks loomed over the work of a bipartisan group of 16 Senators, as they reviewed efforts to change an 1887 law that governs the counting of electoral votes.

Trump was furious, saying the changes were being undertaken by ‘political hacks, liars, and traitors in Congress.

The Senate’s top Republican disagreed.

“That particular law is clearly flawed and needs to be updated,” said U.S. Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell, who also rebuked Trump for floating the idea of pardons for those convicted in the Capitol Attack.

Democrats saw something extra in Trump’s repeated declaration that Pence ‘could have overturned the election’ on January 6 — an admission of guilt about the violence that day.

“Look no further for the Trump smoking gun,” said U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., a member of the Jan. 6 investigative committee.

The bipartisan talks on electoral vote reforms came just days after the Jan. 6 committee sent subpoenas to two Georgia Republicans, looking to find out how and why GOP leaders in Georgia and six other states sent bogus electoral vote documents to Congress and the National Archives, claiming that Trump had won — when he had actually lost.

While polls continue to show many GOP voters believe Trump’s fraud claims, a handful of elected Republicans have clearly had enough.

“I don’t believe the election was stolen,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas told reporters in Washington, offering a rare public rebuke of Trump by a GOP leader.

“Anyone who wants to talk about the last election will lose the next election,” the Arkansas Republican added.

That’s certainly a test for Trump and Perdue, who have been making fraud claims for 16 months now in Georgia — without producing any evidence to back it up.

Jamie Dupree has covered national politics and the Congress from Washington, D.C. since the Reagan administration. His column appears weekly in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. For more, check out his Capitol Hill newsletter at http://jamiedupree.substack.com