Donald Trump hasn’t decided who he will endorse in the Pennsylvania governor’s race this fall.
But, in a statement on Tuesday, he made very clear who he wasn’t going to back: former US Attorney Bill McSwain.
Why? You guessed it: The 2020 election!
“He was the U.S. Attorney who did absolutely nothing on the massive Election Fraud that took place in Philadelphia and throughout the commonwealth,” said Trump. “[Former Attorney General Bill] Barr told him not to do anything (because Barr was afraid of being impeached by the Democrats), but he should have done his job anyway.”
Worth noting here: There’s zero evidence of widespread election fraud in the Pennsylvania 2020 results – or anywhere in the last presidential election for that matter. Republicans in the state legislature have been auditing the election results – at taxpayer expense – for the better part of a year.
For regular followers of Trump’s obsession with the 2020 election, this sort of rhetoric is nothing new. In the time since the 2020 election, he has turned election denialism into a litmus test for his support. Unless you are willing to say – contra facts – that the election was stolen from Trump, not only will you not get his endorsement but, as McSwain is experiencing, he may well attack you.
This is all particularly rich because McSwain, who spent from 2018 to 2021 as the US attorney for the eastern district of Pennsylvania, wrote a letter to the former President in June 2021 in which he made the case that the election in Pennsylvania was a “partisan disgrace” and that he was blocked by Barr from investigating serious allegations about voter fraud. (In December 2020, Barr said that “to date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.”)
But, there’s something unique and noteworthy in Trump’s un-endorsement that is telling about how he views not just the 2020 election but also how he views the world.
Of McSwain Trump says (bolding is mine): “He knew what was happening and let it go. It was there for the taking and he failed so badly.”
“It was there for taking.”
In short: McSwain could have seized the election and given it to Trump. But he didn’t. Because in Trump’s words, he was a “coward.”
Trump’s approach to the world is contained in that sentiment. He believes might makes right, that you take what you can unless or until someone stops you. There’s no real room for right or wrong in that worldview. There’s just the dominant who take what they want and the weak who get taken from.
That very much includes, in Trump’s mind, elections. Remember that this is a man who told the Georgia Secretary of State “all I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have.”
What Trump is mad at McSwain about is not that he overlooked some sort of damning evidence of election fraud. (Fact check: None exists.) It’s Trump believes that McSwain could have used his office to take the election for Trump and didn’t do it.
That’s the worst kind of person in Trump’s mind.