McConnell: Rounds 'told the truth' about 2020 election

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHow Cruz Supreme Court case could lead to unlimited anonymous election spending Trump and Biden should stop denigrating US elections The Armageddon elections to come MORE (R-Ky.) on Tuesday expressed his support for GOP Sen. Mike RoundsMike RoundsSmall ranchers say Biden letting them get squeezed Lawmakers press Biden admin to send more military aid to Ukraine The Memo: Is Trump the GOP's future or in rearview mirror? MORE (S.D.), who earlier this week was attacked by former President TrumpDonald TrumpDeputy AG: DOJ investigating fake Trump electors Former Boston Red Sox star David Ortiz elected to Baseball Hall of Fame Overnight Health Care — Senators unveil pandemic prep overhaul MORE after saying the 2020 presidential election was fair.

"I think Sen. Rounds told the truth about what happened in the 2020 election," McConnell told CNN. "And I agree with him."

While appearing on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday, Rounds shot down Trump's claims that the presidential election was affected by voter fraud, saying President BidenJoe BidenDeputy AG: DOJ investigating fake Trump electors On The Money — Vaccine-or-test mandate for businesses nixed Warner tests positive for breakthrough COVID-19 case MORE's victory was legitimate.

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"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," said Rounds. "We simply did not win the election as Republicans for the presidency."

Shortly after Rounds made his remarks, Trump released a statement attacking the South Dakota senator and repeating his baseless claims that the election was fraudulent. Trump called Rounds "a weak and ineffective leader," adding, "I hereby firmly pledge that he will never receive my Endorsement again!"

Rounds responded to Trump on Monday, saying he was "disappointed but not surprised" by the former president's reaction.

“As a Republican Party, our focus should be on what lies ahead, not what’s in the past. Elections are about growing support for your party, not further dividing it,” he said.

Other Republicans have come to Rounds's defense, including Utah Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyOfficer who directed rioters away from senators says Jan. 6 could have been a 'bloodbath' Ukraine's 'Back to the Future' scenario: Deploying troops is a Cold War solution Bipartisan Senate group discusses changes to election law MOREwho said Rounds spoke the "truth knowing that our Republic depends upon it." Other Republican lawmakers similarly echoed what Rounds said and argued that it was time for the party to move on.

"I don't think re-litigating or rehashing the past is a winning strategy," fellow South Dakota Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneThere is a bipartisan path forward on election and voter protections Juan Williams: It's Trump vs. McConnell for the GOP's future Biden's year two won't be about bipartisanship  MORE (R) said. "If we want to be a majority in 2023, we've got to get out and articulate what we're going to do with respect to the future the American people are going to live and the things they're going to care about when it comes to economic issues, national security issues."