Asked about former president Donald Trump's false claims of election fraud, Nebraska Republican Congressman Don Bacon veered into a prolonged diatribe Friday about the potential negative impacts of the "big lie" on GOP candidates in the 2022 midterm elections.
CNN host John Berman pointed to a recent fundraising email from Trump referring to his loss at the hands of Joe Biden as "the greatest election hoax in history" and "a total con job."
"What damage does that continued, repeated message from the former president do to the country?" Berman said.
"Well I think it cost us two Senate seats in Georgia," Bacon responded. "We're going to win big in 2022 if it's about Afghanistan, inflation, the border, crime, but if it's going to be about the election, it will undermine our ability to retake the House and retake the Senate. It may be 20 or 30 percent get fired up with this messaging. It does not win in middle America. It does not win with moderates. It does not win with suburban voters."
"You cannot take the House back or the Senate unless you win in suburban areas, and that messaging undermines us in that area. We've got to be focused. This election, if it's about Afghanistan, if it's about inflation, crime and the border, we're going to pick up 30 or 40 seats. We're going to send Speaker Pelosi packing out the door. But if it's going to be about election fraud, it will undermine our chances to do that."
Berman then pressed Bacon about the substance of his original question.
"Isn't it more than just a political problem though? Isn't it also just wrong?" Berman said.
Bacon stumbled slightly before saying, "I would agree."
"I think some states could tighten up their processes, but I don't attribute the results of November to election fraud," Bacon added. "The fact is, in my district, a suburban area, we lost about 10 percent of Republican voters on the presidential ticket, and it wasn't on the policy positions, it was more on the name-calling, the Twitter, people were just upset at the tone they were hearing, and I think that was probably true across most suburban areas."
Rep. Don Bacon on CNN www.youtube.com