2020 elections: Top Republicans are defending Trump over unfounded allegations of fraud as concerns mount

2020 elections: Top Republicans are defending Trump over unfounded allegations of fraud as concerns mount

Some prominent Republicans, including members of the House and Senate, support the president in the wake of the speech.

Senator Lindsey Graham, a close ally of the president and chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, defended Trump on Thursday night and echoed his baseless allegations of voter fraud. “I’m here tonight to stand with President Trump,” said Sean Hannity of Fox News.

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy of California did not respond to a request for comment from CNN, but in a Thursday evening interview with Laura Ingraham of Fox News, he similarly echoed the president’s baseless assertions of fraud and warned Americans to be cautious.

McCarthy said: “Every American should stand. Whatever they see … tell us if they see something wrong there.” He later added, “Don’t be silent about this. We cannot allow this to happen in front of our eyes.”

There was no reliable evidence of widespread voter fraud at this year’s contest.

Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming, a member of the Republican leadership in the Senate, said in a statement: “As vote totals continue to be updated, Americans deserve confidence in fair and transparent elections. The president is right to ensure that all votes cast are legally observed and counted.”

The office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declined to comment to CNN on Trump’s remarks Thursday evening. Friday morning, McConnell tweeted, “Every legal vote must count.”

“Here’s how this works in our great country: Every legal vote must count. No ballot papers submitted illegally should not be counted. All parties must monitor the process. The courts are here to enforce laws and resolve disputes. That’s how McConnell said in a tweet.” “The votes of the Americans decide the outcome.”

Other Republican leaders have been silent so far in the wake of Trump’s speech at the White House.

Majorities in the Senate, Whip John Thun of South Dakota, as well as Senator John Cornin of Texas, Roy Blunt of Missouri, Deep Fischer of Nebraska, Johnny Ernst of Iowa and Todd Young of Indiana – all members of the Republican leadership in the Senate – They do not respond to requests for comment.

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Liz Cheney, chair of the House Republican Congress, did not respond to requests for comment.

The House of Representatives, Steve Whip Scales, responded to a request for comment with a statement from spokeswoman Lauren Vine, saying: “The Whip of Scales urges every state to enforce their election laws fairly and equitably as written, and to count only the votes that have been cast lawfully. They deserve complete transparency with the confidence that their votes are being carefully counted. ”

Several Republicans in the House and Senate have rejected Trump’s baseless claims, although most have not mentioned the president by name.

Will Heard, a Texas Republican who will retire at the end of his current term, noted that the comments were “dangerous”.

Howard: “The current president who undermines our political process and questions the legitimacy of countless Americans without evidence is not only dangerous and wrong, but undermines the very foundation on which this nation is built.” chirp.

Republican Representative Adam Kinzinger from Illinois tweeted, “This is insane,” and said, “If you have legitimate concerns about fraud, file the evidence and take it to court.”

Several other Republican lawmakers echoed the assertion that evidence should be presented, if any.

Republican Representative from Michigan Paul Mitchell, who will also retire at the end of this period, chirp“If anyone has evidence of wrongdoing, they should be presented and resolved. Anything less damages the integrity of our elections and poses a threat to our democracy.”
“If a candidate believes that a state is violating election laws, he or she has the right to challenge it in court and provide evidence to support his claims,” Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida chirp.
Senator Mitt Romney of Utah said, “If there are alleged wrongdoing, they will be investigated and ultimately settled in the courts. Have democracy, in our constitution, and with the American people.” chirp.

But only a few Republicans in Congress spoke in defense of Trump’s cries about election fraud and calls to stop counting in his re-election race, which angered the president’s two sons, who tweeted their frustration and anger at the election shortfall. Outright support from elected Republicans.

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“Where is the Republican Party ?! Our voters will never forget …” Eric Trump wrote on Twitter.

Donald Trump Jr. complained that “the utter lack of action on the part of all the Republican candidates in 2024 is simply staggering.”

A few hours before the president’s remarks at the White House on Thursday, Senator Ron Johnson, a Republican from Wisconsin, echoed Trump’s message over the past few days, asking whether the vote count was as transparent as it should be, and said he shared the president’s concerns about mailed ballot papers. .

Behind the scenes, many Republicans in Washington who support Trump, but outside the campaign infrastructure, are increasingly hoping that the process will end quickly and the president will eventually accept results even if the final count does not end in his favor. “I think it’s cracked, and everyone’s ready for this to be over,” said a senior Republican aide in the Senate.

A Republican aide in Congress raised doubts about the president’s allegations of voter fraud: “I think it’s hard to present the argument he’s trying to put forward without referring to actual cases of fraud.”

Prior to the president’s recent remarks, some Republican leaders in the House and Senate and ordinary members had avoided controversial accusations and instead demanded that all votes be counted in a legal manner determined by each of the 50 states with the support of the judiciary if there were problems that needed to be resolved.

“Spending days legally counting votes is not fraud,” Rubio, who has said he is considering running for the White House in 2024, wrote on Twitter.

“The courts will decide the disputes,” McConnell told a news conference on Wednesday when asked about Trump’s concerns. “This is the way we do it in this country. Holding disputed elections is not unusual.”

Asked about Trump’s calls to stop the count, Blunt told the Washington Post on Thursday that it should continue.

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“I think we should legally count all votes cast. I agree with the president, if he thinks there is a reason in some states to count votes outside of that state law, but I disagree that we can count,” Blunt said.

Some of those who have publicly supported Trump largely argued that transparency is key to the vote count, but have avoided aggressively defending Trump’s claims.

Rep. Jim Banks from Indiana tweeted, “We need transparency.”

“Federal law must guarantee transparency in how votes are counted!” Republican Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri tweeted.

“What the president wants to make sure of is that every legal vote is counted. People vote until Election Day and not in the following days as others do. That’s what the president is referring to,” McCarthy said at a news conference on Wednesday. “We want to make sure that it is legal, fair, and that every legal vote is counted, and that’s what we are working on. But I don’t think people should vote after the election.”

But the other Republicans who waded into the matter did so with dry statements intended to ensure all votes counted:

“Under our constitution, state legislatures set the rules and states administer our elections. We have to respect this process and make sure all ballots are counted according to state laws. It’s that simple. I hope we can come up with a final solution as soon as possible,” said Senator Rob Portman, a Republican. From Ohio.

“As we await all the election results, I urge everyone to be patient. Each state has different deadlines for receiving ballot papers and a process for counting those votes,” said Senator Lisa Murkowski, a Republican from Alaska. “It is vitally important that we give election officials time to complete their jobs, and make sure that all the votes legally cast are allowed and counted. The results will be known when all of these cards are counted.”

This story has been updated with additional developments on Friday.

Lauren Fox, Kevin Liptak, Ryan Nobles and Jim Acosta of CNN contributed to this report.

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