Rep. Lee Zeldin said 'it's a bit ridiculous' to even ask him.
Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) on Thursday refused to acknowledge that President Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election. Zeldin's denial came a day after U.S. intelligence agencies warned that similar rhetoric is fueling ongoing extremist threats in America.
Zeldin made his comments in an interview with Politico as part of the publication's "Playbook Live" series.
Noting that he was one of several Republicans to vote against certifying the election results, reporter Ryan Lizza asked Zeldin to acknowledge that Biden won.
"Can you unequivocally state that Joe Biden won the presidential election?" Lizza asked.
Zeldin refused, only responding, "Joe Biden is the president of the United States, and that's how you become the president of the United States."
Lizza pressed Zeldin to answer his original question, noting, "I ask it very intentionally that he won the presidential election."
Zeldin dodged directly answering and complained, "If you'd like to give my answer for me, you can go ahead and do that."
Lizza asked Zeldin a third time, and Zeldin pushed back once more, refusing to acknowledge Biden won.
"I don't know how many more times you want me to say yes and what your agenda is, but really it's a bit ridiculous to be asking me a third time."
Further inquiries to clarify his response were also rejected.
Zeldin's refusal to admit that Biden defeated Trump follows Trump's own insistence that he won the presidential race and had it stolen from him.
In an unclassified report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Homeland Security released on Wednesday, intelligence agencies warned about the rhetoric being used by Zeldin and Trump.
Noting "sociopolitical developments—such as narratives of fraud in the recent general election," the report warns that violent extremists "pose an elevated threat to the Homeland in 2021."
The agencies point to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, which was committed by pro-Trump rioters who were echoing the narrative offered by Zeldin and Trump about the election outcome, as the type of event that encourages violent extremism.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.