Top Donald Trump campaign and White House officials continue to baselessly assert there was widespread election fraud in the 2020 election. They are currently refusing to acknowledge President-elect Joe Biden’s victory, despite having mocked Democrats who didn’t accept Trump’s victory four years ago as “sore losers.”
“You have people trying to delegitimize the President-elect of the United States right now,” Kayleigh McEnany, then a CNN contributor – now White House press secretary – said in November 2016.
“You have people out there that are calling for recounts that are unsubstantiated based on no evidence,” McEnany said in 2016.
A reminder: In 2016, Trump’s allies routinely attacked recount efforts that they said were “based on no evidence” and were designed to “delegitimize” his 2016 victory. They also commended President Barack Obama and administration officials for accepting the results of the election. The comments were made in response to protests against Trump’s victory, recount efforts sponsored by the Green Party and candidate Jill Stein, and efforts to persuade Electoral College voters to vote against Trump.
Here’s some of what Trump’s key allies said about the election outcome in 2016:
Conway, now the President’s adviser and then-campaign manager, hit Democrats over recount efforts when speaking with “Meet the Press” in late November 2016.
“There’s a respect there. And there is a respect for the process and the peaceful transition of power, which is why this recount by Jill Stein and now the Hillary (Clinton) people just is so confounding and disappointing. Their president, Barack Obama, is going to be in office for eight more weeks,” Conway said. “They have to decide whether they’re going to interfere with him finishing his business, interfere with the peaceful transition, transfer of power to President-elect Trump and Vice-President-elect Pence, or if they’re going to be a bunch of crybabies and sore losers about an election they can’t turn around.”
McEnany attacked people who called for recount efforts as trying to delegitimize the President-elect on CNN Tonight in late November 2016
On the same day, McEnany commended Obama for accepting the results of the 2016 election and working with President-elect Trump during the transition, even calling Obama a “hero.”
“We’re commending the people who have put feelings aside and done what’s for the betterment of the country and that’s President Obama,” she said. “Who put out a statement when this all was going on saying, ‘Look, we believe the vote represents the voice of the American people.’ And he has acted like a gracious, really hero in all of this, the way he’s accepted this and moved on.”
In December 2016, McEnany said it was “inexcusable” to “question the legitimacy of the election” after Obama said there was no widespread fraud, and it was a legitimate election.
The former New York City mayor and personal attorney to Trump called anti-Trump protesters “a bunch of spoiled crybabies” in November 2016 after Trump’s victory.
“The reality is they are a bunch of spoiled crybabies. And – and somebody said– I think I heard somebody said we’re bringing up a generation of spoiled crybabies. Most of the kids aren’t crying. Most of the kids are going to class,” he said on Fox News.
On ABC News, Giuliani later called on Obama and Clinton to “say something about this” to anti-Trump protesters because it is “really not the right thing in a democracy.” He further suggested that some might be “professional protesters.”
Schlapp, the Trump ally who is chairman of the American Conservative Union, said in early December 2016 on Fox Business that Clinton was on her “sore loser tour” and that she needed to “get out of the way” to allow Trump to become president.
“Hillary is on her sore loser tour. It started at Harvard where the Hillary campaign blamed everybody for Hillary’s lost. And now we have her going through recounts. You know what she needs to do? She needs to get over it. She lost. Get out of the way and let Donald Trump be President,” Schlapp said.
Clinton conceded the 2016 election to Trump on election night and delivered a concession speech the following day.
Back to today: Many of those same allies are now bolstering Trump’s baseless and dangerous claim that the election is being stolen out from under him, despite no evidence of widespread voting fraud.
The aides continue to feed into Trump’s delusion about winning the election and continue to work on his behalf to file longshot legal and recount efforts, despite a widening vote count in key battleground states in favor of Biden.
You can read more of what Trump’s key allies said in 2016 here.