WASHINGTON — Some Republicans in Congress are agreeing with President Donald Trump’s baseless claims that the election was stolen from him, and backing legal challenges to voting results in states won by President-elect Joe Biden.
“For the integrity of the electoral process, and the system that we have chosen to effectuate our democracy, we have got to allow our courts to hear these allegations of voting irregularities by the president and anyone else who wants to bring them forward,” U.S. Sen. Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., of Louisiana told reporters on Tuesday, according to a Capitol pool report.
The Associated Press called Biden the winner on Saturday after the Democratic nominee gained the more than 270 electoral college votes needed to declare victory. Meanwhile, Trump has falsely said he won the election.
The Trump administration has not announced any transition plans to usher in a new presidency. Some administration officials such as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a former congressman from Kansas, have said that there will be a “smooth transition to a second Trump administration,” and insisted that the presidential election has not been decided.
“We have a post-election process in law, in this country, and any candidate has the right to pursue and they do that all the time,” U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said to reporters about the president’s decision to file lawsuits alleging voter fraud in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada and Pennsylvania.
“President Trump is 100 percent within his rights to look into allegations of irregularities and weigh his legal options,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said.
While Republican lawmakers stick with the president, world leaders such as Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, among others, have acknowledged Biden as the president-elect and are setting up meetings with him.
Many senators also have called for waiting until all states have finished counting votes.
Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., of Missouri refused to accept that media outlets called the race and said that the outcome wouldn’t be known until Dec. 14, which is the deadline for electors in the states to cast their votes.
“The president wasn’t defeated by huge numbers. In fact, he may not have been defeated at all,” Blunt said to reporters on Tuesday, according to a Capitol pool report.
Only five Senate Republicans have publicly acknowledged that Biden is the president-elect.
Those include Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Mitt Romney of Utah, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Ben Sasse of Nebraska.
“Presidential transitions are important, and the President-elect and the Vice-President-elect should be given every opportunity to ensure that they are ready to govern on January 20th,” Collins said in a statement.
Last week, all nine Republican members of Pennsylvania’s Capitol Hill delegation sent a joint letter to Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar, whose office oversees elections, accusing them of ““[putting] their thumbs on the scale in pursuit of what they believe should be a preordained outcome.”
The lawmakers who signed the letter are: U.S. Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-1st District; Dan Meuser, R-9th District; Scott Perry, R-10th District; Lloyd Smucker, R-11th District; Fred Keller, R-12th District; John Joyce, R-13th District; Guy Reschenthaler, R-14th District; Glen ‘GT’ Thompson, R-15th District and Mike Kelly, R-16th District.
“The citizens of the Commonwealth do not just expect free and fair elections, they deserve free and fair elections. We believe that every legal vote should be counted, and it is compulsory for the Secretary of the Commonwealth to discount any votes that do not meet the letter of the law,” they wrote.
Republican state lawmakers in Pennsylvania have since joined the effort, announcing a comprehensive review of election results, though backers have conceded that they have no proof of any wrongdoing or fraud.
Democrats are also pushing back, criticizing Republicans for entertaining the president’s lawsuits and remarks about voter fraud.
“The Republicans have no legal case,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said during a press conference Tuesday. “They are politically distraught.”
When Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, was asked about voter fraud in her state of Iowa—a state that Trump won—she expressed doubt it had occurred.
“I don’t believe so,” she said. “Iowa has a really great election system and I trust the integrity of our process.”
House Republicans such as Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., have gone a step further and have falsely claimed that Trump won the election.
“President Trump won this election,” McCarthy said during a Fox News interview. “So everyone who’s listening, do not be quiet. Do not be silent about this. We cannot allow this to happen before our very eyes.”
Some newly elected House members have also backed the president and have claimed without evidence that Biden is stealing the election.
Reps.-elect Majorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., and Lauren Boebert of Colorado, R-Colo., — both backed by the conspiracy group QAnon — have tweeted that they refuse to accept the election results.
Capital-Star Editor John L. Micek contributed additional reporting.