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Former President Donald Trump has offered a new explanation for his claims of voter fraud, saying his political opponents "used COVID" to change the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.
The former president, who has made frequent claims of widespread voter fraud despite federal and state election officials assuring that the votes were secure, said the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic afforded his foes the opportunity to cheat.
"They used COVID in order to cheat. They used COVID in order to rig the election and in order to steal the election. They used COVID," he said during the Saturday night rally in Ohio. "That's as simple as it gets."
Several states took steps toward allowing for remote voting, such as vote-by-mail, in the 2020 election in an effort to curb the transmission of COVID-19, which the former president argued allowed for malfeasance because mail-in ballots are "treacherous."
Trump praised the new moves taken by Republicans in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin to reexamine the results of the 2020 presidential election, calling those leading the investigations "patriots."
"I hear now that Wisconsin is looking very, very seriously [into the allegations of voter fraud], and I respect Wisconsin so much. It's a great state. They're looking very seriously. Pennsylvania is really starting to take this very seriously," he said, thanking legislators in both states for their efforts.
Pennsylvania has signaled an openness to ordering an audit of its 2020 election results, with state Sen. David Argall, who heads a committee that oversees elections, telling local outlets last week that a forensic audit similar to the one being conducted in Arizona is now a "very real possibility."
Wisconsin's state Assembly Speaker Robin Vos announced in May that he would hire police officers and an attorney to investigate parts of the November 2020 general election. Contracts obtained by the Associated Press reported this week show that he has already hired some people to investigate "potential irregularities and/or illegalities" in the 2020 presidential election.
Trump's support for the Wisconsin investigation was an apparent reversal from his position on Friday, when the former president chastised Vos by name for "working hard to cover up election corruption in Wisconsin."
Trump contrasted his praise of Pennsylvania and Wisconsin with condemnation for other states, such as Michigan, where "the [Republicans in Name Only] in the Michigan Senate" recently released a report confirming Biden carried the state in 2020.
"Michigan is not [taking the allegations of voter fraud seriously]. You can't get those Republicans. Some are great, by the way, but Michigan is not doing the job. ... How do you win Ohio by so much, record numbers, and lose Michigan?" he said during the rally, suggesting that the only way would be through voter fraud.
Trump also singled out Georgia for criticism, saying Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger's decision to remove 100,000 "out of date" names from the state's voter rolls came too little, too late.
"Now, they're saying they're going to delete over 100,000 names. I said, 'Why the hell didn't you delete them before the election, not after the election?'" he said of Georgia.
The former president accused his political adversaries of a double standard, saying former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Georgia's Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams did not attract the same criticism for failing to accept their electoral losses.
"Stacey Abrams goes around saying she won the election. Nobody says anything. Hillary Clinton says she won the election. Nobody says anything. I say we won the election. 'That's terrible. That's terrible,' [they say]," he said. "Isn't it a terrible situation?"
Both Clinton and Abrams contested their respective losses, with Clinton calling for recounts in several swing states after her 2016 loss and Abrams refusing to use the word "concede" when acknowledging that Brian Kemp would become the governor of Georgia following the state's 2018 election.
Trump, who continues to assert there are "mountains of evidence" of widespread cheating in the 2020 presidential contest, filed several claims alleging massive voter fraud, most of which were tossed by federal courts.
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Original Author: Carly Roman