Pressed About Election, Senior GOP Senator Admits 'I Don't Think It Was Rigged'

Senator Roy Blunt, a Missouri Republican, admitted Sunday that he does not believe the presidential election was "rigged" as President Donald Trump has claimed, suggesting that he expected President-elect Joe Biden to take office in January.

Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris were declared the winners of the election by Fox News, the Associated Press and other television networks more than three weeks ago after it became apparent that the Democratic ticket had won more than the 270 electoral votes required for victory in the Electoral College. But Trump has refused to concede, claiming—without providing evidence—that Biden and Harris won through widespread voter fraud.

"I don't think it was rigged," Blunt, chair of the Senate Republican Policy Committee, told CNN on Sunday when asked about Trump's election claims. "But I do think there was some things that were done that shouldn't have been done, and I think there was some element of voter fraud as there is in every election," he continued. "But I don't have any reason to believe that the numbers are there that would have made that difference [to overturn the results]."

Roy Blunt
Senator Roy Blunt (R-Missouri) talks to journalists as he arrives for a Republican Senate luncheon on Capitol Hill on September 16 in Washington, D.C. Chip Somodevilla/Getty

The GOP lawmaker said he didn't believe Trump and his lawyers had "demonstrated" that any fraud or irregularities were large enough issues "that would change the result." Asked whether he accepted that Biden is the president-elect, Blunt said: "We are certainly moving forward as if that's what's going to happen on January 20."

"We're working with the Biden administration—likely administration—on both the transition and the inauguration as if we're moving forward," the Republican said.

Newsweek reached out to the Trump campaign for comment but it did not immediately respond.

Trump gave his first full-length interview since the election was called for Biden to Fox News host Maria Bartiromo on Sunday morning. He repeated a series of unfounded claims, arguing that there was significant evidence that the election was "rigged" against him. The president even suggested that the FBI and Justice Department—which are led by men he appointed—could be "involved" in this alleged plot. However, Trump did not provide any new evidence that hasn't already been dismissed by courts or been thoroughly debunked.

Blunt's assessment Sunday was starkly different from what he said on November 10, three days after Biden had been declared the president-elect by the media. "The president wasn't defeated by huge numbers. In fact, he may not have been defeated at all," Blunt said then. The GOP lawmaker added that the election results show that "virtually every predictor" was inaccurate.

Legal challenges brought by Trump and Republicans in a bid to overturn election results have almost all failed in court. On Friday, a Trump appointee on an appeals court in Pennsylvania asserted in his ruling that the president's lawyers did not provide evidence to support their claims. "Charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here," Judge Stephanos Bibas wrote.