Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) attempted to wave off any concerns on Sunday about former President Donald Trump’s push to install election-denying supporters into election supervisory positions, claiming that “it’s just not true” that these officials could impact final vote counts.
At the same time, Cassidy insisted that the American public won’t fall for Trump-backed candidates pushing the “Big Lie” at the ballot box. “The American people are not going to vote for a cheat,” he confidently proclaimed.
During an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday, Cassidy—who voted to convict Trump of impeachment for inciting the Jan. 6 insurrection—defended his decision not to support restoring parts of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, even though the Senate voted 98-0 to reauthorize the law just a decade ago.
“So the Supreme Court decided—the Supreme Court decided that the conditions in 1965 are different than they are now,” the Louisiana Republican replied. “Imagine that. We’ve had an African American elected president of the United States, an African American elected to the vice presidency, and an African American elected to the Senate in South Carolina. If anyone can’t see the circumstances have changed, they’re just not believing their lying eyes.”
CNN anchor Jake Tapper, meanwhile, noted that voting rights activists would argue that “discrimination and prejudices continue to exist” while pointing out that Republican legislations across the country are passing bills restricting voting access following Trump’s 2020 election loss.
“I don’t know what to say. This proves the system works,” Cassidy contended, adding that many Democratic-led states have more restrictive voting laws than Texas and Georgia, where recent restrictions were passed.
Tapper, however, reiterated that the influx of voting restriction bills and candidates peddling Trump’s baseless claims of widespread election fraud comes amid a coordinated push by the disgraced ex-president to make the “Big Lie” the GOP’s central issue.
“We did see Trump last night in Arizona trying to pressure legislators to decertify the 2020 election. On Friday, he called for an effort to get vote counters—more of them in office who are supporters of his,” the veteran anchor.
After airing a clip of the former president urging the GOP to be “tougher and smarter” on “counting the vote” by installing election deniers to election supervisory roles, Tapper pressed Cassidy on the rapid rise of election denialism within his party.
“We know what he means by ‘tougher and smarter,’ right? I get you don’t support the Democrats’ legislation. Let’s talk about another path forward,” the State of the Union moderator asked. “What do you support in order to secure our elections, to make sure there isn’t any fraud, but also they’re free and safe and that the efforts to disenfranchise that we saw in 2020 are not successful?”
Cassidy, for his part, asserted that “we are seeing the success of state and local government in protecting the election,” further stating that courts and judges rejected Trump-backed lawsuits to overturn election results.
As for election supervisors, the senator downplayed any role they would have in counting the votes.
“They don’t count the vote,” he declared. “It’s not some back room where you can either toss it out or keep it. It’s a public process in which both sides are represented, and there’s votes counted.”
Additionally, Cassidy—perhaps naively—expressed confidence that American voters wouldn’t support any candidate that openly supported the overturning election results or cheating at the ballot box.
“Lastly, I can imagine a campaign slogan, ‘Vote for me, I’m gonna cheat in the election.’ We should not underestimate the American people,” he said. “The American people are not going to vote for a cheat. If someone says I’m voting because I want to flip an election, they’re going to lose their election.”
Cassidy concluded: “And so I think we have to kind of give credit to the American people in the elections, in the process that we’ve gone to. Those ill intents didn’t pass, and as I pointed out in Georgia, they have more permissive laws than Delaware and New York.”