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Donald Trump
stated on April 1, 2024 in Radio interview:
In 2020, Trump “did much better” in the Wisconsin election than 2016, and “after the wrongdoing was found, people said, ‘Well, he actually did win.’”
true pants-fire
President Donald Trump waves after speaking April 27. 2019, at a rally at Resch Center Complex in Green Bay, Wis. (AP) President Donald Trump waves after speaking April 27. 2019, at a rally at Resch Center Complex in Green Bay, Wis. (AP)

President Donald Trump waves after speaking April 27. 2019, at a rally at Resch Center Complex in Green Bay, Wis. (AP)

By Hope Karnopp April 1, 2024

Ahead of first 2024 rally in Wisconsin, Trump repeats false claims that he won the state in 2020

If Your Time is short

  • Former President Donald Trump claimed he performed better in 2020 than 2016 in Wisconsin. He won the state in 2016 but lost in 2020. 

  • Recounts and reviews upheld Biden’s victory and found there was no widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election. 

  • PolitiFact Wisconsin has debunked these claims before, and we’ll continue doing so as Trump repeats them in this cycle.

Former President Donald Trump repeated familiar false claims ahead of his first visit to Wisconsin this campaign cycle: that he actually won the state in 2020 and there was widespread voter fraud.

On April 1, 2024 — a day before Wisconsin’s presidential primary and Trump’s first 2024 rally in the state — Trump appeared on WISN-AM’s Dan O’Donnell show. 

Trump incorrectly said he won Wisconsin in 2020. He did win the state in 2016, but lost in 2020.

"We had a reelection the second time. We actually did much better than the first time. We won in Wisconsin, as you know, the first time. The second time we did much better," Trump said.

Trump also falsely claimed that he won after "wrongdoing" was discovered in the 2020 election.

"But I guess it was delayed," Trump continued. "They found out a lot of wrongdoing. And after the wrongdoing was found, people said, ‘Well, he actually did win.’"

O’Donnell, a conservative talk radio host, did not push back on Trump’s false claims that he won the state in 2020 or that there was wrongdoing in the presidential election. 

PolitiFact Wisconsin has checked these claims before. But ahead of Trump’s rally in Green Bay let’s take a trip down memory lane.

Trump did not win Wisconsin in 2020, though he did win the state in 2016

Let’s tackle the first part of Trump’s claim: That he performed better in Wisconsin in 2020 than he did in 2016. 

That is unequivocally false. And it’s something PolitiFact Wisconsin has checked on multiple occasions, including in 2021. 

We noted then, and we’ll repeat here, that President Joe Biden won Wisconsin in 2020. Biden took 1,630,866 votes compared to Trump’s 1,610,184 in the state, so Trump lost by 20,682 votes. 

Trump did win the state in 2016, taking more than 22,000 votes over Democrat Hillary Clinton. He netted 1,405,284 votes in Wisconsin in 2016.

So, although Trump picked up more raw votes in 2020, his performance was not better because he ultimately lost by about 20,000 votes.

PolitiFact Wisconsin reached out to Trump’s campaign for backup but did not hear back by deadline.

Bottom line: Trump did not win Wisconsin in 2020. PolitiFact Wisconsin has repeatedly rated that claim Pants on Fire. 

Recounts affirmed Biden’s victory, no widespread fraud or wrongdoing

In the second part of Trump’s claim, he says that he won after "a lot of wrongdoing" was discovered. 

Let’s look back again. In 2020, PolitiFact Wisconsin explained that recounts Trump requested upheld Biden’s victory. 

The net pickup for Biden was 74 votes in the heavily Democratic Milwaukee and Dane counties. So, Trump actually fell further behind.

So, again, recounts affirmed that Biden won the election. 

PolitiFact Wisconsin has also debunked several claims that there was "wrongdoing" or pervasive voter fraud. 

That includes clarifying that late returns for Biden were because of how Milwaukee counts its absentee ballots, not fraud. 

We’ve also debunked his claim that absentee ballots were being dumped in rivers or creeks. 

On top of that, a probe led by former state Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman — who has aligned with Trump and promoted his false claims — turned up no evidence the election was incorrectly called.

The conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty also found no evidence of widespread fraud. State auditors also found voting machines worked properly. 

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Even reviews led by conservatives found no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 presidential election. 

PolitiFact Wisconsin found false Trump’s claims of pervasive "wrongdoing" many times before, and the same applies here.

Our ruling

In a radio interview, Trump repeated familiar false refrains.

That is, that he won Wisconsin in 2020 and "after the wrongdoing was found, people said, ‘Well, he actually did win.’" 

Biden won the state in 2020. Recounts actually expanded Biden’s margin, and multiple reviews — including by conservatives — found there was no widespread voter fraud.

PolitiFact Wisconsin has checked these claims before, and we’ll continue doing so if Trump airs them as he hits the ground in Wisconsin ahead of November. 

We’ve given a Pants on Fire rating for similar Trump claims in the past, and we do the same again here.

 

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More by Hope Karnopp

Ahead of first 2024 rally in Wisconsin, Trump repeats false claims that he won the state in 2020

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