President Donald Trump fought members of his own party over the weekend, as his critics – and even some allies – called on him to accept the results of the presidential election.
Following the loss of a major lawsuit aimed at overturning Pennsylvania’s results on Saturday, several prominent Republican leaders gave interviews on Sunday, suggesting it was time for Trump to consider conceding.
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, who has criticized Trump in the past, said on CNN State of the Union that Trump’s behavior has been embarrassing.
“We were the most respected country when it came to elections,” Hogan said. “And now we’re starting to look like a banana republic. It’s time for them to stop the nonsense. It gets more and more weird every day.
Also on State of the Union John Bolton – the former White House national security adviser who was acrimoniously ousted in September 2019 – on Sunday called Trump’s behavior “inexcusable” and compared it to “throwing stones by the Windows”.
“We need all of our leaders to come forward and say, ‘The elections are over,’ he said. “We are not talking about an abstract right for Trump to use his legal remedies. We have passed it.
Trump’s campaign team has given no indication of their intention to declare the election over, despite President-elect Joe Biden winning the race more than two weeks ago. And Trump summed up his current position on the issue on Saturday, Tweeter, “Hopefully the courts and / or legislatures have the COURAGE to do what needs to be done to maintain the integrity of our elections and of the United States of America itself.”
But there is no legal basis for the annulment of election results. No widespread electoral fraud was revealed, and the president’s claims that there were irregularities in the vote count were debunked as he raised them. Some nearby states, like Georgia, recounted the ballots by hand – and after that, found that the recount didn’t change the results.
Trump has made it clear that he will not accept this fact and has attacked anyone – whether they are members of his party or not – who suggests he should.
Trump took to Twitter on Sunday to lash out at Hogan, who angered Trump earlier this year when he criticized the president’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, for his remarks on CNN.
Trump called Hogan a name-only Republican, or RINO – a term he commonly uses for Republicans who disagree with him – and shared an article by right-wing news site Breitbart suggesting that Hogan had delved into its own response to the coronavirus.
Hogan responded on Twitter and, referring to the president’s spending much of the weekend on his golf course in Virginia, suggested to Trump “Stop golfing and concede.”
If you had done your job, US governors wouldn’t have had to fend for themselves to find tests in the midst of a pandemic, as we have successfully done in Maryland.
Stop playing golf and concede. https://t.co/tCXO8etxge
– Governor Larry Hogan (@GovLarryHogan) November 22, 2020
Trump hurled the same insult at Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Friday, after certifying that Biden won the state, while also attacking Republican Georgia Governor Brian Kemp.
“Georgia’s self-styled Republican Secretary of State (RINO) won’t let people who check the ballots see the signatures for fraud,” Trump tweeted Friday. “Everyone knows that we have won the state. Where is @BrianKempGA? ”
Attacks like these undermine party unity – like Politico reports, some fear they could cost GOP elections in the future by inviting major challenges to candidates like Kemp and encouraging new infighting.
For now, Trump seems reluctant to stop these attacks – but Hogan and Bolton have encouraged fellow Republicans to ignore them and join them in calling on Trump to accept the election results.
“The more of them who come out and say, ‘He doesn’t represent us – he’s not following a Republican game plan here,’ the safer they will be,” Bolton said.
Few ruling Republicans speak out against Trump
For the most part, it seems GOP leaders are ignoring Bolton’s advice.
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-LA), for example, said it “always looks like [Biden] has a very good chance ”of being the next president. Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH) called for investigations into electoral irregularities that do not exist. Raffensperger claimed Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) tried to pressure him to illegally reject the ballots. And the leaders of Congress have remained largely silent; Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, for example, recently said he believed election issues would resolve themselves through “process” and “our system”.
However, in the wake of Trump’s loss in Pennsylvania on Saturday, there has been a slight change in tone among some allies.
The defeat was the most recent of several that Trump has faced in his attempts to legally challenge the presidential election results. But it was perhaps the most resounding. As Ian Millhiser de Vox, the judge in this case, U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Brann, explained, “not only rejected the legal arguments of the Trump campaign, he mocked the campaign for. its inability to present a coherent argument – or to provide any support for the crucial elements of their claims. “
“One would expect that, in seeking such a surprising outcome, a plaintiff would be formidably armed with compelling legal arguments and factual evidence of rampant corruption,” Brann wrote in his ruling. “It didn’t happen.”
Following the ruling, retired Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey, a Republican, said on Saturday that “President Trump has exhausted all plausible legal options to challenge the outcome of the Pennsylvania presidential race,” and congratulated Biden and the vice president-elect. Kamala Harris on their victory.
Many Republicans were asked about Toomey’s statement on Sunday, including former Trump ally Chris Christie, who responded by calling Trump’s legal team a “national embarrassment” on ABC. This week.
“They allege fraud outside of the courtroom, but when they enter the courtroom, they don’t plead the fraud and they don’t support the fraud,” he said.
Christie, however, refrained from directly criticizing the president.
“I have been a supporter of the president. I voted for him twice, but elections have consequences, and we cannot continue to act like something has happened here that has not happened, ”he said. “You have an obligation to present the evidence. Evidence has not been presented. “
Asked about Toomey’s statement on Meet the pressSenator Kevin Cramer (R-ND) attempted to call for a transition of power to Biden while also supporting Trump’s efforts to challenge these results.
“Everyone should just relax and let things work out legally,” Cramer said, mistakenly adding that Trump “was just exercising his legal options.”
Cramer added, however, that there should ultimately be an end to these challenges, and that it is “high time” for the Biden transition to begin.
Cramer is right that all Americans have the opportunity to sue – but baseless lawsuits like Trump’s is not something the justice system does not smile on. And efforts like Cramer’s to legitimize Trump’s actions ignore the reality that the clock is ticking for any plans, legitimate or not, to change election results.
The main states have started the process of certifying their results. Georgia did so on Friday, and as Michigan Rep. Fred Upton pointed out on CNN Sunday Inside politics, Michigan is scheduled for Monday.
Upton noted that all of Michigan’s counties had certified their results and that his 154,000 vote margin in favor of Biden would be maintained.
“The voters have spoken,” he said. “No one has found evidence of fraud or abuse. … Let voters, not politicians, speak up.
And state lawmakers have hinted that they have no intention of attempting to block or revoke that certification if at all.
All of this means that, whether it’s December 8, the federal deadline for states to certify their results; December 14, during the vote of the Electoral College; or on January 20, when Biden is sworn in, Republicans will have to admit that Trump will not have a second term.
But Trump himself has not indicated when or if he would ever give up challenging the election results. For now, a recount remains underway in Wisconsin, a the second recount has been ordered in Georgia, and the challenges in Arizona and Nevada are ongoing.