Mississippi Governor Equivocates When Asked if Joe Biden Was Lawfully Elected

Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves equivocated when asked if President Joe Biden won the election "legitimately and lawfully" during a CNN interview on Sunday, indicating the ongoing reluctance of some GOP officials to clearly renounce former President Donald Trump's baseless fraud claims.

On CNN's State of the Union, host Jake Tapper asked the Republican governor whether he believed Joe Biden is the "legitimate, lawfully elected president of the United States."

Reeves began by stating Biden is "the president of the United States" until Tapper interjected to ask: "But was he legitimately and lawfully elected?"

"In our state, we do not allow mail-in voting, and the reason we don't allow mail-in voting is because we think that it allows for lots of opportunities for fraud and other things, and I don't think mail-in voting should be allowed in other states around the nation," Reeves answered.

"But President Biden is the duly elected president, and we're gonna do everything we can to work with him to help the citizens of Mississippi."

Wow. Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves still won't acknowledge that Joe Biden's victory over Trump was legitimate. pic.twitter.com/ApofSzGlyC

— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 7, 2021

Tapper pointed to states Trump won that made use of mail-in ballots, as well as government officials, Republican colleagues, and judges who have refuted claims of a manipulated election.

"This is a dangerous conspiracy theory that tens of millions of people believe that inspired a domestic terrorist attack on the Capitol," Tapper said. "Yes or no, do you accept that the 2020 presidential election was free and fair?"

"Every election has some questions, and this one was no different," Reeves said. "President Biden is the duly elected president of the United States, he was certified by all 50 states, either having won or lost.

"He lost my state by 20 points, but he was certified in each of the individual states, he was certified by the U.S. Congress, and he is the duly elected president. But that doesn't mean that we don't have bad laws in the books in other states, it's just a fact."

During the presidential election, Reeves has cast doubt on the election process in other states, while maintaining Mississippi—which Trump won—benefited from a legitimate process.

"Mississippi electors just officially cast the state's ballots for Donald J. Trump," Reeves tweeted in December. "A safe and fair election here in Mississippi—not upended by last-minute schemes to radically alter voting methods. Election integrity is vital."

When Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch joined a lawsuit filed by her Texas counterpart Ken Paxton to invalidate votes in four battleground states won by Biden, Reeves supported the move. The Supreme Court dismissed the lawsuit in December.

Reeves had also expressed opposition to mail-in voting, which many American voters relied upon amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In November, the governor said he would "do everything in my power to make sure universal mail-in voting and no-excuse early voting are not allowed in MS—not while I'm governor!"

Newsweek has reached out to Reeves' office for comment.

Trump himself had not relented on the election fraud claims that allegedly incited his followers to attack the Capitol in January as lawmakers debated Biden's Electoral College win.

In his first post-White House appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference this month, Trump complained of a "rigged" process and falsely claimed he "won" both presidential elections he ran in.

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves delivers televised address
Mississippi Republican Gov. Tate Reeves delivers a televised address prior to signing a bill retiring the last state flag with the Confederate battle emblem during a ceremony at the Governor's Mansion in Jackson, Mississippi, on June 30, 2020. Reeves has supported former President Donald Trump's false election fraud claims. ROGELIO V. SOLIS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images