Steve Bannon used Republicans’ tepid responses about accepting election results to push election denial

Bannon: “If you do not believe that the 2020 election was stolen, you’re not at the railhead of this movement. That is the original sin of what’s happened in modern politics.”

Several Republican elected officials recently offered alarmingly noncommittal responses to questions about whether they would accept the 2024 election results. Podcaster and former Trump adviser Steve Bannon used those comments to bolster his own discussion of election denial.

On the May 13 edition of War Room, Bannon ran a “cold open” at the top of his show that featured an MSNBC segment — which leaned on a report from Axios —  detailing several GOP officials who had been “hedging or dodging” questions about whether they will accept the 2024 election results.

Over the weekend, Sens. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) and J.D. Vance (R-OH) appeared on NBC News’ Meet the Press and CNN’s State of the Union, respectively, where they both refused to say that they would accept the 2024 election results outright. (Graham said he would accept the results of the upcoming election “if there’s no massive cheating,” while Vance said he would accept the results if they were “fair and free.”) 

The report also highlighted other GOP politicians who have recently tiptoed around such questions, including purported vice presidential contenders Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), and Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL).

Bannon used the report as a launching pad to rehash baseless claims that the 2020 election was stolen and to argue that the same might happen in 2024.

“A weekend where many things became clear,” Bannon said after the opening montage. “I know not to — didn’t have to the War Room posse, you’ve been following this every day for the last couple of years, but it’s becoming clearer and clearer.”

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Citation From the May 13, 2024, edition of Real America's Voice's War Room

“They’re going to do everything to try to steal this election,” Bannon later said. “We ain’t going to accept anything until we see, until we check every box and we certify everything. We see what you did in 2020 and hey, guess what, we’re going to have full accountability and full transparency, and hold those people accountable that stole the 2020 election.”

“If you do not believe that the 2020 election was stolen, you’re not at the railhead of this movement. That is the original sin of what’s happened in modern politics,” Bannon added. “They stole it and they bragged about it and they know they stole it.”

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Citation From the May 13, 2024, edition of Real America's Voice's War Room

Bannon and his MAGA media allies recently demonstrated their ability to influence the GOP agenda by launching a successful campaign to oust lawyer Charlie Spies from the Republican National Committee for his perceived hostility toward the MAGA movement and his unwillingness to claim that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Trump.

Bannon later hosted two luminaries of the election denial movement, Trump lawyer and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and coup memo author and former Trump adviser John Eastman, who was recently temporarily disbarred in Washington, D.C., because of his role in consulting with Trump on how he might contest the 2020 election results.

Giuliani was recently fired by the New York City-based radio station WABC for violating a policy against airing discredited claims about the 2020 election. According to Business Insider’s Jacob Shamsian, the show was Giuliani’s “only” source of income, per his bankruptcy filings.

“Now the media’s melting down, that we’re saying, ‘Hey, we ain’t going to accept the 2024 election until we see how it’s run, until we see how it’s certified, until we get the receipts and get the details,’” Bannon said to Eastman, referring to the GOP comments from Sunday. “And they’re in full meltdown right now because you know they’re plotting to steal this thing.”

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Citation From the May 13, 2024, edition of Real America's Voice's War Room

Eastman said that “anybody that raised those questions” about how the election was administered in swing states “is now being persecuted with criminal prosecutions, with bar disciplinary proceedings, designed to silence anybody that would say such things for the next election. And they don’t hide that. They’re brazen about it.”

“They want a free path to be able to steal the next election as well and nobody dare raise an objection about it,” he added. “That’s why me, people like Rudy and others are standing up so strongly to push back against this.”

“This is being done now because we are getting close to 2024,” Giuliani said, referring to his firing from WABC. “If you can shut us up — myself, Eastman, you, whatever — about 2020, much better chance of stealing 2024.”

In December 2023, a federal jury found that Giuliani had defamed two Georgia election workers by falsely accusing them of committing election fraud and ordered the former New York City mayor to pay them nearly $150 million.

“They understand they have to steal 2024, so what they want to do first is shut up everybody about 2020,” Bannon responded.

Eastman also made a call to action for Bannon’s audience:

“People are angry about what they’re seeing and looking for direction on what they can do about it. That’s why it’s important to shine a light on election illegality whenever you see it. People need to get involved at their local level,” Eastman said. “Raise objections, get those things cleaned up now, so there’s less opportunity for deadwood fraud on the ballot rolls.”

He added, “People need to take this matter seriously or we’re going to lose something precious that we inherited: and that is freedom and the right to have free and fair elections.”