DAVENPORT, Iowa — Republican presidential candidate Tim Scott said Friday that he did not believe the 2020 presidential election "was stolen," the South Carolina senator's strongest rejection to date of former President Donald Trump's false election claims.
"I do not believe the election was stolen," Scott said in response to a question at a town hall event here. "There was cheating, but was the election stolen? There’s a difference. I think [in] every election there’s cheating."
Scott has previously cast doubt on Trump's claims but without going as far as he did Friday.
A day before Congress counted the electoral votes certifying Joe Biden victory, Scott issued a lengthy statement that read in part: “Thus far, no justice, judge or fact finder has found evidence indicating the election results” should be overturned. On Jan. 6, 2021, he did not join some of his Senate Republican colleagues who objected to certifying certain state results.
During a "Face the Nation" interview several months after the Capitol riot, Scott said, "The election is over," and affirmed that Biden was indeed the legitimate president even as others in his party continued to suggest that his presidency was illegitimate.
Trump has condemned Republicans who have publicly disagreed with his stolen election narrative, including former Vice President Mike Pence, who’s now competing against Trump for the GOP nomination, and former Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming.
Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, one of Scott's opponents in the GOP primary, has also clearly stated that Trump was not robbed of the 2020 election, saying at a National Governors Association meeting in January 2022: "I don’t believe the election was stolen and I respect the results."