Few Republicans have spoken out in the past 24 hours against President Donald Trump’s lies about the election, electoral fraud, his move to prevent the counting of legitimate ballots and his premature declaration of victory.
But there were a handful of top members of the GOP who were willing to correct the record-even as the vast majority of Republican legislators remained silent-working to ensure that local election officials could finish their work.
“Claiming to have won the election is different than stopping the count,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters in his home state of Kentucky after decisively beating his Democratic challenger Amy McGrath.
Senator Marco Rubio, the acting chairman of the Intelligence Committee, twittered that “it is NOT a scam to take days to count legally cast votes.
“And legal challenges to votes cast after the legal voting deadline,” the Florida Republican added, “is NOT suppression.
Although Rubio did not name the president by name, it was a clear reprimand for Trump, who made a speech at the White House on Wednesday morning, falsely claiming that “as far as I’m concerned, we’ve already won him. Trump also suggested that he would force the Supreme Court to determine the winner, although it is unclear how and why.
While Congress is in recess and members are able to dodge the questions posed by Capitol Hill reporters, they will not be able to avoid the fact – should it occur – that the President refuses to accept the validity of the election and a peaceful transfer of power to Democratic Joe Biden when the legislature meets again in the coming weeks. Prominent Republicans pushed back in September when Trump again refuted the notion that he would accept the results.
Trump’s campaign doubled in rhetoric over the course of Wednesday, claiming the election was stolen by the Democrats because the majority of uncounted votes had been counted in Biden’s favor. Election experts had been warning for months before the election about the possibility of a “red mirage” in which Trump would apparently only the absent and premature votes on election day bridge the gap and lead to a Biden victory.
The Trump campaign has also said that they plan to challenge the Wisconsin vote count – an attempt that the former Republican governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker, predicted would prove futile – while in the key states of Pennsylvania and Michigan they have stopped the vote count amid calls for better access to observe the counting of ballots. A third lawsuit has been filed in Georgia concerning the manner in which absentee ballots are stored and processed.
Other Republicans joined McConnell and Rubio in giving a thumbs down to the president’s rhetoric without explicitly referring to him.
“Under our Constitution, state legislatures make the rules, and states administer our elections,” said Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) in a statement congratulating Trump on recapturing his embattled state. “We should respect this process and ensure that all ballots cast in accordance with state laws are counted.
“It’s that simple,” Portman continued. “I hope we can come to a final solution as soon as possible.”
Similarly, Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah), an ally of the Conservative Trump Card, and the elected governor of Beehive State, recoiled.
“Once again we are facing an extremely close presidential election. It’s best for everyone to step back from the spin and let the voters do their job,” Lee told the Salt Lake Tribune in a statement. “The most important thing is that we have a fair count that the American people can trust.
President-elect Governor Spencer Cox, a Republican who is the top electoral official as the current lieutenant governor of the state of Utah, condemned Trump’s campaign claims even more strongly. He described the president’s rhetoric as “very worrisome” and tweeted that there was “nothing nefarious” about the counting of legitimate votes after election day.
“I am deeply concerned every time we question the election process without any evidence,” Cox told the Tribune.
The decisive swing state of Arizona was recognized by the Associated Press and others, including Fox News,