Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) on Monday defended fellow Republican Sen. Mike Rounds (S.D.) after former President Trump criticized Rounds for shooting down Trump’s claims the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him.

“While there were some irregularities, there were none of the irregularities which would have risen to the point where they would have changed the vote outcome in a single state,” Rounds said Sunday during an interview on ABC’s “This Week.”

Trump responded Monday morning with a lengthy statement, blasting the conservative lawmaker, calling him a “RINO,” or Republican in name only.

“Is he crazy or just stupid?” Trump said of Rounds. “The numbers are conclusive, and the fraudulent and irregular votes are massive. The only reason he did this is because he got my endorsement and easily won his state in 2020, so now he thinks he has time, and those are the only ones, the weak, who will break away. Even though his election will not be coming up for 5 years, I will never endorse this jerk again.”

Romney, a leading Trump critic within the Senate GOP conference, shot back at Trump and defended Rounds.

“Mike Rounds speaks truth knowing that our Republic depends upon it,” Romney said in a tweet posted on Monday afternoon. “Republicans like Govs Hutchinson, Baker & Hogan; Sens McConnell, Thune & Johnson; Bush & Cheney; plus 60+ courts and even the right-leaning Wall Street Journal editorial page agree: Joe Biden won the election.”

Trump and many of his allies in Congress have repeatedly argued that the election was “rigged” against the former president, a theory that has been widely rejected by election officials, has been unsupported by audits and has not held up in courts.

The former president, who public polling shows is still supported by a vast majority of Republican voters, has teased another potential bid for the White House in 2024. Trump has spent the last year promoting and endorsing Republicans who he says are loyal to him and his agenda.

Rounds, separately on Sunday, said that if Trump were to run for president again, he would “take a hard look at it” when deciding if he would support him.

“Personally, what I have told people is, is I’m going to support the Republican nominee to be president. I’m not sure that the eventual nominee has even shown up yet,” he said. “There’s still — we’re two years to go, where we’re going to focus on the next election cycle. It’s critical that we take back the House. It’s critical that we take back the United States Senate.”

–Updated on Jan. 11 at 6:24 a.m.

Tags Donald Trump Donald Trump Joe Biden Mike Rounds Mitt Romney Mitt Romney Republican Party United States presidential election

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