Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) told ABC News on Sunday that the 2020 "was fair, as fair as we have seen," and President Biden legitimately won the presidency.
Televised affirmation by a Republican senator that former President Donald Trump cleanly lost his re-election bid is rare enough to be news — and to draw a sharp response from Trump, who called "Senator" Rounds "woke" and either "crazy" or "stupid" in a statement Monday. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) added a short preface to Trump's statement.
Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.), who's had his own run-in with Trump over the 2020 election, welcomed his fellow South Dakotan to the attacked-by-Trump club.
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) issued his own statement, listing other Republicans who have acknowledged Biden's victory.
Trump regularly rages against Republicans he sees as insufficiently loyal to him, and that has been hard on his GOP targets in the House, where Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) sides with the former president. Senators have fared better, though Trump's ire is typically shared and amplified by his ardent supporters. Trump said Thune's "political career is over!!!" in December 2020, but Thune is heavily favored to win re-election this year.
Later Monday, Rounds issued his own response to "the former president," reiterating that "the former president lost the 2022 election" and lauding Vice President Mike Pence's "integrity" for standing his ground and acknowledging "President Biden's victory."
NBC's Sahil Kapur adds some context to the fight and notes that Rounds won't face voters again until 2026.