- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 18, 2021

Former President Donald Trump denied losing his failed reelection campaign during a series of interviews Wednesday, his first since mobs of people upset over his defeat stormed the U.S. Capitol last month.

Mr. Trump broke his silence during an interview televised live on Fox News shortly after it was reported that longtime conservative radio personality Rush Limbaugh had died at the age of 70.

Speaking by phone, Mr. Trump said during his first interview in more than a month that he spoke with Mr. Limbaugh as recently as three or four days before his death from lung cancer.

Asked what Mr. Limbaugh had said to him following the November presidential election he lost, Mr. Trump replied: “Well, Rush thought we won. And so do I, by the way. I think we won substantially.”

Mr. Trump subsequently made similar remarks during phone interviews aired later Wednesday on rival cable TV networks Newsmax and the One America News Network, also known as OANN and OAN.

“We did win the election, as far as I’m concerned. It was disgraceful what happened. Totally disgraceful,” Mr. Trump told Newsmax. “We had a disgusting, frankly, a very dishonest election. And it was stolen. It was a stolen, fixed, rigged election. And it’s too bad. But we’ll see, you’ll see what happens.”

“We were robbed,” Mr. Trump echoed during his OAN appearance. “It was a rigged election.”

Nationwide, Mr. Trump received about 7 million fewer votes than his Democratic opponent in the November election, including in key states needed to win the Electoral College and become president.

Mr. Trump and his allies pursued several dozen lawsuits challenging the Republican incumbent’s defeat in courts across the country, but none succeeded and President Biden took his place Jan. 20. Additionally, leaders of top federal law enforcement and cybersecurity agencies during the Trump administration said they saw no evidence to support allegations of any serious election fraud.

Nonetheless, Mr. Trump insisted the election had been “stolen” up to and as mobs of his supporters rioted during the deadly storming of the Capitol building on Jan. 6, the day Congress met to count the Electoral Votes affirming Mr. Biden’s victory.

Mr. Trump refrained from interviews in the weeks after the riots and has sparsely been seen in public since Mr. Biden took his place nearly a month ago. He was relatedly banned from Twitter and Facebook during that span as well, effectively restricting his ability to complain publicly about the presidential election he lost in the weeks before the round of telephone interviews Wednesday.

The U.S. House of Representatives voted last month to impeach Mr. Trump for inciting an insurrection for provoking the assault on the Capitol. He was ultimately acquitted in the Senate, however.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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