While not directly mentioning Trump by name, DeSantis reiterated his belief that the election was conducted unfairly due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, he rejected the more outlandish theories surrounding the alleged theft of the election.
During a campaign event in Northeast Iowa, DeSantis responded to a question from a New York Times reporter, saying, "I've said many times that the election is what it is. All those theories that were put out did not prove to be true."
He went on to explain that conducting a fair election requires not changing the rules midway, avoiding ballot harvesting, and refraining from actions such as Facebook's collaboration with government agencies to censor information, specifically mentioning the case of Hunter Biden.
DeSantis emphasized that while the election was not conducted in the way he believed it should have been, it is different from claiming that votes were stolen, as some theories suggested. He concluded that these theories have been proven to be unsubstantiated.
DeSantis also made a reference to Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, alluding to unproven claims made by former Trump attorney Sidney Powell after the election. Powell had alleged, without evidence, that the voting technology used in the election had been used to manipulate elections in Venezuela.
The governor's remarks came one day after Trump, the leading contender for the GOP presidential nomination, was indicted on charges related to his alleged attempt to overturn the 2020 election. Special Counsel Jack Smith, who indicted Trump, stated that the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021, was "fueled by lies" from the former President.
This marks Trump's third indictment since leaving office, following a New York indictment for alleged hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels and another federal indictment brought by Smith over Trump's handling of classified documents.
In response to Trump's indictment, DeSantis tweeted, "As President, I will end the weaponization of government, replace the FBI Director, and ensure a single standard of justice for all Americans."
He also expressed his belief in the need for reforms that would allow Americans to have their cases moved from Washington, DC to their home districts, citing the "swamp" mentality of the capital. DeSantis argued that the politicization of the rule of law is one of the reasons for the country's decline and pledged to end the weaponization of the federal government.