On Monday night, more than two days after the presidential race was announced by the Associated Press and major television networks, only four Republican senators had acknowledged the loss of President Donald Trump and congratulated Joe Biden.
With the exception of the Quartet, all GOP members of the House of Lords approached by Washington Newsday and other reporters on Capitol Hill refused to recognize Biden as the winner and did not advise Trump to give in.
The Republicans’ refusal to recognize the Democratic victory comes amid a spate of lawsuits brought by the Trump campaign and persistent unsubstantiated allegations of widespread electoral fraud against the Democrats, who, in the Republicans’ view, somehow “manipulated” the outcome of the election.
“We will examine the system. We will accept the results of the court decisions and the total number of votes, but we will not stop,” said Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who has vowed to use his powerful position as chairman of the Judiciary Committee to investigate the postal vote. “The postal vote is a disaster for this country as it is conducted today.
There is no evidence of widespread fraud in the postal vote, although Trump and the Republicans claim otherwise. Trump is losing by a wide margin in several states far greater than his victories over Hillary Clinton, who resigned the day after the 2016 election.
“Six people voted who were dead,” Graham continued. “That won’t change the outcome of the election, but to register six people after their death and election, yes, that is fraud. Now, to what extent, I don’t know… You’d have to disqualify a lot of votes.”
Other top Republicans were also quick to defend Trump’s rejected concession and the legal battles of his campaign.
“[Trump] has a constitutional right if there are legal challenges they want to make,” said John Thune (R-S.D.), Majority Whip in the Senate. “I think everyone is going to play this one out. Obviously we will have results soon.”
Senate Majority Whip Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) refused to acknowledge Biden’s victory during a speech in the Senate, saying instead that “President Trump is 100 percent within his rights” to take the matter to court.
Even as the Republicans spoke out against countless false claims by Trump last week before Biden was projected as the winner, their rhetoric since Biden’s projected victory over the weekend has made it clear that it could be weeks before they recognize the election results and push for Trump’s concession. Some, such as Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Graham, noted that the states have deadlines later this month to confirm their results. Voters from the electoral college will not meet and cast their official ballots until December 14.
“December 14 will come. I will not confirm anything until [the Trump campaign]has a chance to look at it,” Graham said.
Rubio also defended Trump’s lack of concession, citing the ongoing lawsuit, although he himself admitted he saw no evidence of electoral fraud. Rubio is the acting head of the powerful intelligence committee.
The four GOP senators who acknowledged Biden’s victory are the ones most likely to have been willing to publicly criticize Trump: Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Mitt Romney of Utah.
“At this point I think the transition should be underway, even if it is not yet complete,” Romney said. A Trump commissioner refuses to formally recognize Biden as the elected president so that the transition can begin. “We want to ensure that the interests of national security and a smooth transition are realized,” Romney added.
The allegations by Trump and his conservative presidential-level allies about widespread electoral irregularities are despite the fact that the same politicians are announcing the results of congressional races where Republicans have exceeded their expectations, probably by staying in the Senate and minimizing the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives.
“According to preliminary results, voters across the country have voted and re-elected Republican senators to an extent that has truly stunned forecasters,” McConnell said. “Likewise, the American people seem to have responded to the radicalism and obstruction of the Democrats in the House of Representatives by shrinking the majority of the speaker and more