5 takeaways from Doug LaMalfa's appearance on CNN
North State Congressman Doug LaMalfa appeared on CNN’s Chris Cuomo show on Friday night hours after the Supreme Court’s decision not to let Texas challenge the presidential election results in four states, a lawsuit that LaMalfa and more than 100 other House Republicans signed on to.
In an at times testy interview, Cuomo pressed LaMalfa for proof of widespread election fraud, asked him if he finally accepts that Joe Biden won the election and why can’t Congress get a second COVID-19 relief package out to the public.
Of the House Republicans who endorsed the Texas lawsuit, LaMalfa was the only one that CNN could reach who would agree to come on the show, Cuomo said.
“Does he accept the end? Does he accept (President-elect Joe) Biden? Will he work on relief now?” Cuomo threw out before introducing LaMalfa.
Here are five takeaways from the CNN interview:
LaMalfa sort of resigned to fact Biden will be president
On Monday, the six states where Trump contested the results — Nevada, Arizona, Wisconsin, Michigan, Georgia and Pennsylvania — cast their votes for Biden as he won the Electoral College vote. Congress now will meet on Jan. 6 to count the votes.
After the Electoral College vote, a statement to the Record Searchlight from LaMalfa's office said in part, "There are enough concerning irregularities and sworn affidavits under penalty of perjury for the Congressman to believe that this election should continue to be looked into.
"Frmer VP Biden received more than 270 electoral college votes today and on Jan 6 the House will take action to complete the process. That’s when it will be over."
Last Friday, LaMalfa suggested to Cuomo that the process still has to play out, noting, “Well, we still don’t know what the intelligence folks have in there.”
Cuomo countered, “They don't have anything.”
But LaMalfa said “come Jan. 20, (when) he’s got his hand on the Bible and doing that, then I guess we’ll accept it at that point. But there’s still a lot of time between here and there, so I’ll see what happens on that. But, certainly, I’ve accepted elections in the past whether they’ve … gone my way or not.”
The moon landing and proof of election fraud
In a strange exchange after Cuomo asked LaMalfa if he had any proof of substantial election fraud, LaMalfa brought up the moon landing.
“You know, I don’t have proof that men landed on the moon in 1969 because I wasn’t there,” LaMalfa said before Cuomo interrupted him and said, “Really?”
Cuomo then asked LaMalfa, “Do you believe the world is round?”
“I think we’ve proven that,” LaMalfa said.
“Have you been all the way around it?” Cuomo countered.
LaMalfa didn’t answer and then said that he has to trust the people “that are doing the investigating." He told Cuomo that he's seen the pictures in Michigan of boarded windows that prevented people from seeing the vote count.
Cuomo reminded LaMalfa that it’s been litigated, that Trump and his legal team have had their chance and have produced nothing.
“Look, I’m giving you a chance to show that you are a man of honor and that you can accept that this is a country of laws.” Cuomo said.
After more back and forth, Cuomo again asked LaMalfa to show him proof that would overturn the election.
“I have not been in the courtroom to look at the proof myself. I see it on the news, I see it in reports that my colleagues and I look over,” LaMalfa said, adding that he has to believe “what is out there, the documents that I’ve been able to look at.”
COVID relief or Trump?
With the election over, Cuomo asked LaMalfa if he and his Republican colleagues will work to get a COVID relief package out “or are you going to hold on to trying to take care of Trump even after he has lost?”
LaMalfa said they want to get a relief package out.
“So, we got to get Mrs. P (House Speaker Nancy Pelosi) and our side to agree with the senators on what the levels are going to be,” LaMalfa said. “We have half a trillion dollars that’s already approved. All we have to do is change the dates on the document and that money could go right out.”
Cuomo wondered why not just give Americans relief checks again, “wouldn’t that help just about more than anything else?”
LaMalfa suggested that maybe things will change in another month.
“I mean, you got your result with the election for president, so maybe after Jan. 20 it’ll be easier to agree on things, right?”
‘I’m not part of dividing the country’
In the wake of Friday’s Supreme Court decision, several news outlets reported that the chair of the Republican party in Texas suggested that the “law-abiding” states should secede.
“You don’t agree with that guy in Texas who’s saying you should put together a group of states and fight on your own, do you? You don’t believe that BS, do you?” Cuomo said to LaMalfa.
LaMalfa started talking about the State of Jefferson, a movement in California that wants to break away from Sacramento, the Bay Area and Southern California to form its own state.
Cuomo interrupted, “I’m asking, you don’t believe that, do you? You’re not part of that, are you?
“No, I’m not part of dividing the country,” LaMalfa said.
LaMalfa in the national spotlight
LaMalfa’s appearance on Cuomo’s show was the second time last week he was on national TV.
Last Tuesday, LaMalfa was on Newsmax’s American Agenda talking about California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recent lockdown order.
LaMalfa posted the interview on his Facebook page, something he did not do with the CNN interview.
Earlier this month, he announced he has co-sponsored the Election Certainty Act, a bill he said is a response to “widespread distrust of voting systems among many Americans,” claiming that “recent polls” show that Americans are losing trust in the system. LaMalfa did not cite any polls in a news release announcing the bill.
Could the longtime North State Congressman be eyeing bigger things for himself in the House, like a chairmanship?
David Benda covers business, development and anything else that comes up for the USA TODAY Network in Redding. He also writes the weekly "Buzz on the Street" column. He’s part of a team of dedicated reporters that investigate wrongdoing, cover breaking news and tell other stories about your community. Reach him on Twitter @DavidBenda_RS or by phone at 1-530-225-8219. To support and sustain this work, please subscribe today.