WASHINGTON — President Trump’s attacks on the vote counting process have prompted fellow Republicans to distance themselves from the president’s baseless allegations of fraud.
As votes continued to be counted and Democrat Joe Biden edged closer to victory, Trump lashed out Thursday evening in a performance that suggested he knew his prospects for a second term were slipping away.
“If you count the legal votes, I easily win. If you count the illegal votes, they can try to steal the election from us,” Trump claimed. In fact, there is no evidence that any votes cast illegally are being counted or that the process is unfair and corrupt.
The ballot-counting process across the country largely has been running smoothly with no evidence of widespread fraud or problems.
Some Republican lawmakers who have stood by Trump on issues in the past are now speaking out to defend the Democratic process.
“We want every vote counted, yes every legal vote (of course),” tweeted Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.). “But, if you have legit concerns about fraud present EVIDENCE and take it to court. STOP Spreading debunked misinformation… This is getting insane.”
Senator Pat Toomey, from the battleground state of Pennsylvania, urged patience, saying in a statement that “all votes that comply with Pennsylvania law must be counted, regardless of how long the process takes.”
Toomey did express concern “that Philadelphia’s vote counting process lacks transparency,” but added, “Once a final count is reached and certified, all parties involved must accept the outcome of the election regardless of whether they won or lost.”
Utah Senator Mitt Romney said on Twitter:
“Counting every vote is at the heart of democracy. That process is often long and, for those running, frustrating. The votes will be counted. If there are irregularities alleged, they will be investigated and ultimately resolved in the courts. Have faith in democracy, in our Constitution, and in the American people.”
“Taking days to count legally cast votes is NOT fraud,” Florida Senator Marco Rubio tweeted. “And court challenges to votes cast after the legal voting deadline is NOT suppression.”
He retweeted himself the next day, however, to add, “If a candidate believes a state is violating election laws they have a right to challenge it in court & produce evidence in support of their claims.”
On Thursday night the president’s son Don Jr. railed against GOP leaders, tweeting:
“The total lack of action from virtually all of the ‘2024 GOP hopefuls’ is pretty amazing. They have a perfect platform to show that they’re willing & able to fight but they will cower to the media mob instead. Don’t worry @realDonaldTrump will fight & they can watch as usual!”
Trump’s other son Eric added, “Our voters will never forget you if your (sic) sheep!”
It’s still unknown how closely Republicans in the House and Senate will align themselves with Trump and his political goals if he loses. On Thursday, former Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said he “absolutely” expects that Trump will be on the short list of presidential candidates in 2024 if Biden win’s the 2020 election.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.