National Security

GOP lawmaker says he’s been called a ‘traitor’ by people close to him for recognizing Biden win

Outgoing GOP Rep. Denver Riggleman (Va.) said Monday that people close to him have called him a “traitor” for recognizing President-elect Joe Biden as the victor in the 2020 White House race.

Riggleman, a former intelligence officer and Air Force veteran, was asked by CNN’s John Berman why more Republican lawmakers weren’t speaking out about President Trump’s unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud.

“I don’t know what’s in their hearts, and I wish I could tell you. I’ve tried to call. I’ve tried to talk to individuals about this,” Riggleman said. “And by the way, my own — well, I shouldn’t say this exactly — but people very close to me have called me pretty much a traitor to the cause because of my belief in data and statistical analysis and technology and people that have taken an oath to the Constitution.”

Biden was declared the winner of the 2020 race by several media organizations — including The Associated Press and Fox News — after winning in key battleground states such as Pennsylvania and Michigan. Trump has refused to concede and has instead launched a number of legal challenges seeking to overturn the results. He has been unsuccessful so far.

Riggleman praised Christopher Krebs, the former head of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) who was fired by Trump earlier this month, for standing by the election results during an interview on CBS’s “60 Minutes” over the weekend.

“I think what you saw last night with Chris Krebs and the reason he got emotional is because there’s thousands of people who have taken an oath to the Constitution who have been disparaged, and I think that is absolutely just a repugnant act,” Riggleman said.

The outgoing lawmaker, who lost his primary in June after officiating a gay wedding, said Trump’s baseless claims alleging mass corruption in the election sounded like “desperation.”

During a Sunday interview with Fox Business’s Maria Bartiromo, Trump spent 45 minutes levying unproven and baseless allegations that letter carriers, Dominion Voting Systems, Republican officials across the country and mail-in ballots were all to blame for his failure to win reelection.

“It is also mind-blowingly ridiculous to think that all these agencies would work in tandem somehow across 50 states. … To do that would be almost impossible,” Riggleman told CNN.

Krebs, a Trump appointee, had worked with state and local officials to boost election security following Russian interference in 2016.

CISA put out a statement earlier this month from stakeholders and officials that affirmed the 2020 election was “the most secure in American history” and dispelled assertions that voting systems were in some way compromised.

Trump fired Krebs “effective immediately,” calling the statement “highly inaccurate” and claiming without evidence that “there were massive improprieties and fraud — including dead people voting.”

In his “60 Minutes” interview, Krebs said he wasn’t “necessarily surprised” by his abrupt termination but was disappointed.

“I think the thing that upsets me the most about that is I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye to my team,” the former CISA director added. “And I’d worked with them for 3 ½ years in the trenches, building an agency, putting CISA on the national stage. And I love that team. And I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye, so that’s what I’m most upset about.”

Tags 2020 presidential election 60 Minutes Christopher Krebs Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Denver Riggleman Denver Riggleman Donald Trump Election results Intelligence Joe Biden Maria Bartiromo

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