Meanwhile, Trump’s staunch allies urge him to keep fighting as his campaign poses various long-term legal challenges for different numbers of votes in key battlefield states.
“Don’t accept the media’s statement,” Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) Told Fox News host Maria Bartiromo on Sunday. “Don’t admit it, Mr. President. Fight hard.”
Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., Minority chairman of the House of Representatives, also on Fox News, agreed that it was premature to call the presidential competition for Biden.
“What we need in the president’s race is to ensure that every legal vote is counted, every recount is completed and every legal challenge should be heard,” said McCarthy. “Then and only then will America decide who won the race.”
Other Republicans said they weren’t surprised the president would question the results given his nature. They acknowledged, however, that Biden will almost certainly remain the presidential contest winner in the end, even after recounts and recruitment efforts are completed in several states.
“It is time for the president’s lawyers to present the facts, and then it is time for those facts to speak for themselves,” said Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), A member of the GOP leadership, on ABCs This Week. But, he added, it seems “unlikely that changes are big enough to make a difference.”
“Given that statisticians have come to a conclusion at this point, I think we stand behind the new president,” said Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah), who opposed Trump’s re-election and was the only Republican who did so voted to have him impeached by the Senate, CNN told CNN about the state of the Union.
Biden declared victory on Saturday and in a prime time address called on the nation to “leave the anger and harsh rhetoric behind”. His campaign also begins with the president’s transition process, and Biden is expected to appoint a group of advisors on Monday to guide his decision-making regarding the coronavirus pandemic.
In addition, several foreign leaders have already congratulated Biden and the elected Vice President Kamala Harris on their election victory, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu joined in early Sunday morning – a remarkable statement given his support for the president and his policy towards Israel.
Former President George W. Bush, a longtime member of the GOP establishment, also said Sunday that he spoke to Biden and Harris to congratulate them on their victory.
But it is McConnell who remains perhaps the most important figure in terms of ability to influence the process of Trump’s concession or exit.
The Kentucky Republican tweeted Friday that “every legal vote should be counted,” but refused to go beyond his testimony at a press conference that day. When asked if he had spoken to the president recently, he only remarked that they speak frequently. His office declined to comment on Sunday.
The two men have become allies in four years, despite their vastly different personalities, and McConnell has largely avoided publicly crossing the president. But McConnell may not want a national crisis on his hands, and he’s far better positioned to stay in power after Senate Republicans have won important Senate races, even as Trump went down.
Still, like most Republicans, McConnell is unlikely to want to incur the wrath of the president, who will keep the GOP firmly under control for years to come – and could even make a presidential bid in 2024.
This is especially true for many of the GOP’s rising stars and potential 2024 presidential candidates, like South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, who said it was “premature” to declare Biden the winner.
“We should give President Trump his day in court,” Noem said on ABCs This Week. “If Joe Biden really wants to unite this country, he would wait and make sure we can prove we had fair elections.”
Romney noted that Trump has the right to pursue legal challenges, especially given the proximity of the race in several battlefield states. However, he expressed concern that the president went further, falsely declaring himself the election winner on Twitter and calling the competition “rigged” and “stolen”.
“I think you have to be careful when choosing your words. I think when you say the election was corrupted or stolen or rigged, unfortunately that’s rhetoric picked up by authoritarians around the world, ”Romney added on NBC’s Meet the Press. “And I think it also discourages trust in our democratic process here at home.”
Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Who appeared on CBS ‘Face the Nation, said the Trump campaign allegations should be “judged” but declined to adopt the more aggressive stance of the president’s allies.
And ultimately, few Republicans voiced concerns that Trump would refuse to leave the White House after inauguration day. Romney said he expected the president to admit at some point. And Blunt, who thought the outcome was inevitable, said, “I look forward to the President looking into this, but he has to take care of it.”