Congressman Francis Rooney, a Florida Republican, believes that President Donald Trump and the GOP allies are “playing into Russia’s hands” and “undermining” the country’s democratic principles by not allowing the election of President-elect Joe Biden.
Rooney, who announced last year that he would not seek re-election, is among a growing number of Republican legislators who have congratulated Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. The seat of the GOP Congressman was won in the current election by Congressman-elect Byron Donalds, a fellow Republican. Rooney’s successor has tweeted in support of Trump’s legal battle against the election results, as the president has made allegations of widespread election fraud without evidence.
“I believe the peaceful transfer of power is a crucial element of our democracy. Therefore I would like to compliment and congratulate the president-elect,” Rooney said in an interview with CNN on Monday morning. The Republican legislature criticized Trump’s “hold” on the GOP voter base, describing it as “somewhat dangerous.
“I think we are playing into Russia’s hands here by undermining our own democratic principles,” Rooney said. “There is an election. It seems that the vice president won it. If you look at the whole vote count that you all do so great – I don’t see any way that could ever be changed in any of those states, maybe in Georgia. So let’s get on with the program.”
Biden’s lead in Georgia is only 0.2 percent or about 10,000 votes. A recount is planned in the Southern state, which has 16 votes, but it seems unlikely that enough votes will be rejected or changed to favor Trump.
Washington Newsday asked the Trump campaign for comments, but did not respond in time for publication.
While the leaders of countries around the world – including Great Britain, Germany, France, Canada, Saudi Arabia and Israel – congratulated Biden on his victory, Russian President Vladimir Putin has been waiting to do so. A spokesman for the Russian head of state said on Monday that Putin would await the outcome of Trump’s legal challenges. Russian media have played up the tensions in the U.S. elections and encouraged Trump’s unfounded allegations of widespread fraud.
Putin quickly congratulated Trump in 2016 after he beat Hillary Clinton. U.S. intelligence and special adviser Robert Mueller concluded that Russia had interfered in this presidential race to keep voters from supporting Clinton. Mueller’s investigation did not conclude that Trump or his campaign was conspiring with Moscow-led efforts.
Secret services warned that Russia was trying to interfere again in the 2020 elections. Russia has denied that it will interfere in 2016 or try to do so again this year.
Other prominent Republicans, including former President George W. Bush, have congratulated Biden and Harris.
“The challenges facing our country will demand the best from President-elect Biden and Vice-President-elect Harris – and the best from all of us. We must come together for the good of our families and neighbors and for our nation and its future,” Bush said in a statement on Sunday.
GOP Senator Mitt Romney of Utah, who was critical of Trump and voted to remove him from office alongside the Democrats after he was removed from office, congratulated the former vice president and his colleague.
“Ann and I congratulate President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris. We know both of them as people of good will and admirable character. We pray that God will bless them in the days and years to come,” Romney said in a Saturday tweet.
“Sofia and I congratulate Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Our nation deserves two competing parties who can work together when possible and compete honorably when not,” Congressman Adam Kinzinger, an Illinois Republican, tweeted on Saturday.
A few days earlier, Kinzinger called many of the accusations of voter fraud “misinformation. He tweeted: “STOP spreading exposed misinformation…. This is getting crazy”…