July 26, 2021

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Trump stirred conspiracy theories about election fraud in Montana, a state he won, at his comeback rally – Business Insider

2 min read
  • The rally was Trump’s first since leaving office. 
  • He championed bids to undermine last year’s election based on unsubstantiated fraud claims. 
  • He even questioned the legitimacy of results in Montana, a state he comfortably won. 
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

At his first rally since leaving office, former President Donald Trump questioned the integrity of last year’s presidential election vote in Montana — a state he comfortably won. 

Since losing last year’s election to Joe Biden, Trump has relentlessly questioned the legitimacy of the vote, pushing groundless conspiracy theories that it was fixed by Democrats. 

He has focussed much of his rage on states he narrowly lost, including Georgia and Arizona. But at the rally in Ohio, Saturday evening he suggested that the election in Montana —a state which he overall won with 56.9% of the vote to Biden’s 40% — may also have been tainted. 

“In Montana, over 6% of a certain county’s mail-in ballots are missing, evidence to prove that they were legitimate or not. They are missing all this evidence. Think of it, Montana, a lot of mail-in ballots. Where do you have the mail-in ballots, by the way?” said the former president to supporters. 

The former president’s decision to single out Montana for criticism puzzled observers. 

“I don’t recall any of these “irregularities,” during my coverage of the 2020 election in Montana. Mind you, Donald Trump won the state by 16 points. Also, according to the former Republican Secretary of State, the election was certifiable,” tweeted KHQ reporter Bradley Warren. 

Trump may have been referring to allegations by GOP state Rep. Brad Tschida of irregularities in mail-in voting in Montana’s Missoula County in last year’s election. Missoula is one of the counties where Democrats won. 

County election officials have rejected Tschida’s claims as baseless and as “needlessly eroding voters’ faith in local elections” in an April letter to the Montana secretary of state rebutting the allegations.

“They do nothing more than insert partisan rhetoric built on disproved claims from other states,” note the officials. 

Trump, in his speech, went on to praise states where GOP-controlled state legislatures, such as Arizona, have launched audits of last year’s election. The audit in Arizona has been denounced by critics and state election officials as a partisan attempt to undermine the election’s legitimacy. 

On Friday, the former president had threatened to support bids to unseat Wisconsin’s GOP leadership if they don’t back an election audit similar to Arizona’s. 

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