Under fire from Trump, Sen. Mike Rounds says Republicans need to provide voters with ‘good information’ and instill trust in American elections

Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D., speaks during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the conclusion of military operations in Afghanistan and plans for future counterterrorism operations, Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021, on Capitol Hill in Washington.
Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D., speaks during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the conclusion of military operations in Afghanistan and plans for future counterterrorism operations, Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021, on Capitol Hill in Washington. AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, Pool, File
  • On Sunday, Sen. Mike Rounds acknowledged on “This Week” that the 2020 election was fair.
  • Former President Donald Trump issued a statement calling Rounds a “jerk” for his comments.
  • Rounds told CNN that Republicans should instill public trust in the American electoral system.

In a Tuesday interview with CNN correspondent Manu Raju, Sen. Mike Rounds implored fellow Republicans to reassure their constituents by instilling confidence in the country’s democratic process, even as former President Donald Trump continues to push conspiracies about the legitimacy of the 2020 election.

“I think it’s critical that we offer the American public our direct view that they can trust the election system in the United States today and that they can go to the polls knowing that their votes will be counted,” Rounds said.

On Sunday, the South Dakota senator asserted for the first time on ABC’s “This Week” that the 2020 presidential election “was fair, as fair as we’ve seen.”

Trump responded by issuing a statement attacking Rounds, calling him a “jerk” and pledging to never endorse him again. 

When Raju responded that many Republicans refrain from talking about the 2020 election to avoid a “tiff with Trump,” Rounds reiterated that he was not trying to be confrontational by recognizing Joe Biden’s win.

“What we are looking for is to be able to provide good information in a timely fashion, to be seen as being as responsible and being honest,” Rounds told CNN’s Raju. “I think that’s what the American people deserve and I think that’s what many of us want to do.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has tried to shift the GOP’s focus toward future elections, defended Rounds’ remarks on CNN: “I think Sen. Rounds told the truth about what happened in the 2020 election. And I agree with him.”