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GOP Representative Ken Buck was one of eight Republicans who voted to oust Kevin McCarthy as House Speaker last week, but he’s not backing either of the leading candidates to replace the guy. And for one pretty good reason: They won’t admit that Donald Trump lost the 2020 election.

After asking both Steve Scalise and Jim Jordan during a closed-door meeting if the ex-president won the last election, and not getting a resounding “no,” Buck refused to vote for either candidate for the job, simply declaring “present” when asked. “If we don’t have the moral clarity to decide whether President Biden won or not, we don’t have the moral clarity to rule in this country, period,” Buck told HuffPost. “They weren’t direct. They evaded the question,” Buck said. “I wasn’t happy, so I voted ‘present.’” (Scalise ultimately won the vote by 113 to 99, though it’s not clear what will happen once the proceedings move to the House floor.)

Asked later on MSNBC why he thought neither Scalise or Jordan were willing to say “the 2020 election wasn’t stolen,” Buck told Katy Tur: “There’s a large group of Trump followers in this country that would disagree with that and there would be a political penalty for saying such a thing.”

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As The Washington Post notes, that’s probably true, given the depressing fact that “CNN-SSRS polling has consistently shown that most Republicans in the United States think that Joe Biden wasn’t legitimately elected in 2020, with a third saying there’s solid evidence he wasn’t. (There isn’t.)”

Both Scalise and Jordan were among the 147 GOP lawmakers who objected to the 2020 election results on January 6, even after Trump supporters attacked the Capitol. For his part, Jordan was a huge backer of Trump’s election lies, and in its final report, the January 6 committee wrote that he was “a significant player” in the ex-president’s effort to subvert the election results.

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