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Trump Says GOP Lost Senate After His 'Rigged' Election Gripes Discouraged Voters

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In a startling, though perhaps unintended, admission, former President Donald Trump explained Saturday that the GOP lost twin Senate races in Georgia — and its Senate majority — when Republican voters stayed away from the polls because they were discouraged by his complaints of a “rigged” presidential election.

It was exactly the scenario feared by mainstream Republicans: that Trump would so undermine faith in the American voting system that Trump’s Republican supporters, who were the most likely to believe his inaccurate claims of a fraudulent election, wouldn’t bother voting in the Senate special elections in Georgia two months after American voters picked Joe Biden as president.

“What happened is we had two senators running, a couple of months later, and you know what happened to them?” Trump said at a Phoenix rally. “Republicans said, ‘We’re not going out to vote, because this was rigged, this election was rigged,’” he noted, parroting his own claims about the election.

There is absolutely no evidence of fraud in the presidential election.

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Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock won both Senate seats up for grabs in January. Those losses cost the GOP its control of the U.S. Senate.

Late last year, ahead of the Georgia vote, former state Sen. Chuck Clay warned the GOP faithful about Trump’s conspiracy theories: “We’ve got to get a grip on ourselves, people. What we can’t have is this sense of just conspiratorial madness that I think certainly does the body politic harm — and I don’t think helps our candidates.”

Republican pollster and strategist Frank Luntz warned last November: If Trump  “continues to disillusion voters ... by saying that the elections were rigged and that your vote doesn’t matter, this could have severe consequences for the administration in trying to keep those two [Georgia Senate] seats Republican.”

Trump critics noted on Twitter that the admission revealed again what everyone knows about Trump: He would eagerly sacrifice his party to salve his ego and serve his own interests. 

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This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.

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