On CNN Tuesday, evangelical minister Franklin Graham struggled to defend his role in casting doubt on the 2020 election — refusing to disavow his prior claims that the election was stolen, even while acknowledging Biden as president.
"I want to ask you, because the disinformation that we're seeing driving vaccine hesitancy among evangelicals is really part of a bigger disinformation problem that includes lies about the outcome of the 2016 election that Trump, not Biden, won, which many evangelicals believe, which is something that you have given life to," said anchor Brianna Keilar. "Do you have any regrets about publicly doubting the outcome?"
"You've got about 73 million Americans out there that have some concerns about the election," said Graham. "And listen, I think it's time we move on. The election is over with. We have to move on as a country. President Biden is the president."
"Sir, respectfully, it's not over for a lot of people. It is not," said Keilar. "I mean, we're looking at this audit going to in Arizona ... so you don't believe what you said before in December about believing Trump when he said it was rigged?"
"There are 73 million-plus people out there that feel there was funny business in that election," said Graham. "I've moved on. We are trying to save people's lives. We have got a real crisis in front of us and I want to work with the Biden administration, if we can, to try to get information out that would save life. And to me, the election is behind us. President Biden won. He's sworn in. And let's just move on."
"With all due respect, sir, I understand that you are saying that, but there are people who doubt the outcome of the election. They are not moving on," said Keilar. "And many folks, including yourself, told them not to essentially, or to question the outcome of this election. You did it more than a month after the outcome of the election. Do you stand corrected? Is what you said incorrect?"
"No, I don't think it's incorrect," said Graham. "I'm saying it is what it is. You have 73—"
"So you're saying that Joe Biden didn't win the election, but that you're moving on?" said Keilar. "I want to be very clear about what you're saying."
"No, let's be very clear," said Graham. "I have said I'm moving on. He is the president and he needs our support. He needs our prayers. And we've got a virus in front of us that needs to be focused on. And so the election, we've got another election coming up in two years, midterms, and four years from now, another presidential election. So we can work toward that. But let's get past 2020 and move on."
"All right, sir," said Keilar. "I'll just say, many people have not moved on. They believe — as you put it, have concerns about the election. Many of them believe it was inaccurate. And there are people in positions of power, including yourself, who gave them reason to believe that."
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