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Andy Biggs, Mike Johnson, Debbie Lesko
Left to right: Rep. Andy Biggs (R-NV), Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA), and Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-NV). Photo credit: US House / Wikimedia

There is one question Republicans, like new House Speaker Mike Johnson, do not want to answer: “Who won the 2020 election?” And that’s why it should be the only question journalists are asking.

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One of the greatest media failures of the past few years is that the Capitol Hill press corps keeps giving congressional Republicans a pass on answering questions about who won the presidency in 2020 and their roles in assisting Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of that election.

These are such fundamental questions that they are only ones reporters should be asking GOP lawmakers until they get definitive and unambiguous answers.

It does not matter what these Republicans want to talk about instead.

Let’s say they are holding a press conference about Hunter Biden or the situation at the border or whatever else they are aggrieved about at the moment.

The first question out of any reporter’s mouth should be: “Who won the 2020 presidential election?”

If the respective lawmaker tries to weasel out with, “Joe Biden was sworn in,” or some other evasive response, then the next question should be: “Yes, but who do you think won?”

If the answer is anything other than “Joe Biden,” then they should be pressed to provide specific evidence of how exactly the election was stolen.

If they can’t do that, then the follow-up has to be: “So you don’t actually have any proof?”

Next, the lawmakers who did try to overturn the results of the election on January 6 should be asked if they regret that vote.

Only if they have answered all of these questions should they be allowed to talk about any other issues.

The reason why is simple.

A democracy cannot function if one side baselessly accuses the other of having “stolen” an election. If an election has truly been stolen, the implications are clear: Everything the declared winner of that election does is illegitimate.

Any law or executive order signed by somebody who stole an election should be null and void.

By the way, the fact that Republicans do not constantly make this point whenever Biden does anything is clear proof that they know he legitimately won.

However, in light of Trump continuing to relentlessly push his Big Lie, and a majority of GOP voters continuing to believe him, there is no more important issue facing the country right now — and every Republican has to be put on the record about their views.

The best example of this media failure is how the press is treating new House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA), who did play a key role in trying to help Trump erase Biden’s victory.

He is now second in line to the presidency, and if Biden were illegitimate, that would actually make Johnson the highest-ranking US official who was duly elected.

That seems like a big deal, and therefore, it is crucial to know how he feels about it.

“Speaker Johnson, are you the highest legitimately elected official in the land? And if so, what are you going to do about it?”

Another reason why reporters should ask only this question until every single congressional Republican has given a satisfactory response (one way or another) is that GOP lawmakers do not want to answer it.

That’s a sharp contrast to Democrats, who will talk about Trump’s Big Lie all day long if given the chance.

We saw this reluctance after Johnson was elected and a reporter (to her credit) raised this issue.

Instead of getting an answer from the new speaker, the question drew a bunch of boos, and Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC)told the reporter to “shut up.”  

Well, guess what, Virginia; you do not get to dictate what questions journalists should ask you and your fellow election deniers.

In fact, it is she and her Republican colleagues who should either put up (some evidence of a stolen election) or shut up (about the Big Lie).

Fortunately for them, the congressional press corps keeps failing at this most important part of its job. 

Author

  • Klaus Marre

    Klaus Marre is a writer, editor, former congressional reporter, and director of the WhoWhatWhy Mentor Apprentice Program. Follow him on Twitter @KlausMarre.

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