Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) on Thursday said directly what no other current Republican elected official is willing to say about Donald Trump: that the president is actively seeking to overturn President-elect Joe Biden's historic victory in the 2020 presidential election.
In a statement posted on Twitter, Romney condemned Trump for pressuring local GOP officials in states that Trump clearly lost to appoint pro-Trump electors ― overruling the will of the people ― in a last-ditch effort to tilt the Electoral College in his favor and steal the election.
"Having failed to make even a plausible case of widespread fraud or conspiracy before any court of law, the President has now resorted to overt pressure on state and local officials to subvert the will of the people and overturn the election," Romney, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee, said in a statement.
"It is difficult to imagine a worse, more undemocratic action by a sitting American President," the senator added.
It was the sharpest denouncement of Trump's incendiary conduct by an elected GOP official yet, but like so many times before, it came from a frequent Trump critic ― not someone in the Republican leadership.
Trump on Thursday summoned Michigan's Republican legislative leaders to the White House for an extraordinary meeting as his campaign's legal team falsely claimed he won in a "total landslide" and openly urged state legislatures in states including Michigan, Pennsylvania and Georgia to appoint their own slate of electors.
The election "in all the swing states should be overturned, and the legislatures should make sure that the electors are selected for Trump," Trump campaign attorney Sidney Powell said during an appearance Thursday evening on Fox News.
The so-called Hail Mary option has been dismissed by legal experts in both parties as undemocratic and dangerous. Even if it fails, experts fear that it would falsely propagate the notion among millions of Trump supporters that the election was unfairly conducted and that Biden is an illegitimate president.
Wild press conferences erode public trust.Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.)
Earlier on Thursday, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Trump's personal lawyer, held a bizarre press conference alongside Powell at the Republican National Committee in Washington, where they both spouted conspiracy theories about supposed voter fraud in the Nov. 3 presidential election. The allegations were too far-fetched even for Fox News host Tucker Carlson, a steadfast Trump ally, who noted during his program that Powell "never sent us any evidence" to support her baseless claims and "got angry and told us to stop contacting her."
"Wild press conferences erode public trust. So no, obviously Rudy and his buddies should not pressure electors to ignore their certification obligations under the statute. We are a nation of laws, not tweets," Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) said in a statement that did not directly mention Trump.
The Nebraska senator noted that even as Trump's legal team has sought to portray some vast electoral scheme against the president in public, they've refused to actually allege fraud in court filings "because there are legal consequences for lying to judges."
Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), a member of the Senate GOP leadership who was reelected this month, offered a mild rebuke of Trump's voter fraud claims in an interview earlier Thursday with conservative radio host Guy Benson.
"They have to be able to show that proof. I haven't seen proof yet. There are a lot of allegations out there. That's why we have the court system," Ernst said.
The Iowa senator did, however, condemn Powell after she falsely insinuated that political candidates of both parties pay off election officials to win, calling the statement "absolutely outrageous."
“That is an offensive comment for those of us who do stand up and represent our states in a dignified manner. We believe in honesty. We believe in the integrity of the election system," Ernst added.
Igor Bobic, HuffPost, November 19, 2020.
November 20, 2020
Voices4America Post Script. Is this bit of condemnation of Trump a GOP step forward? Hmm. As a group, Republicans are cowards, unpatriotic -some even treasonous -, self-serving, power grabbing and uncaring about Americans.
In my view, this article should be called A Few Cowardly Republicans Speak Up!
That is all.
#NeverForget #NeverTrump #NeverMcConnell #NeverRepublicans
Here are the two Statements...Romney..
But they vote for Trump/McConnell's unqualified judges, refuse to give relief to Americans during this pandemic and empower Trump.
Some other Repubs finally spoke today. Here is the New York Times account.
Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, the retiring chairman of the Senate's health committee, on Friday became the most senior Republican to directly call on President Trump to begin the transition process for President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.
Though he stopped short of declaring Mr. Biden the winner and said the president had a right to challenge the results until they were final, Mr. Alexander, a three-term senator, former governor and former secretary of education, said those were not reasons enough to wait to begin a vital process.
"If there is any chance whatsoever that Joe Biden will be the next president, and it looks like he has a very good chance, the Trump Administration should provide the Biden team with all transition materials, resources and meetings necessary to ensure a smooth transition so that both sides are ready on Day 1," he wrote in a statement. "That especially should be true, for example, on vaccine distribution."
The statement stood out as most high-ranking Republicans in Congress continued to stay silent on Friday as Mr. Trump and his legal team escalated their attempts to undermine the election results and claim victory for the president.
So far, most of those who have spoken against the president, directly or not, have either been retiring or are longstanding critics, like Senators Mitt Romney of Utah and Ben Sasse of Nebraska.
But on Friday, a few new voices began to chime in.
Representative Kay Granger of Texas, the top Republican on the House Appropriations Committee, who was just re-elected, told CNNthat she had "great concerns" about what Mr. Trump was doing.
"I think that it's time to move on," she said.
Representative Paul Mitchell of Michigan, a retiring Republican, wrote in an op-ed published Thursday night in The Detroit Newsthat Mr. Trump's "continued refusal to acknowledge the election results risks corroding our democracy by literally hollowing it out."
And a former senator from Mr. Alexander's home state, Bob Corker, criticized fellow Republicans for failing to challenge Mr. Trump.
"While the president has the right to legitimate legal challenges, responsible citizens cannot let the reckless actions by him and his legal team stand," Mr. Corker wrote on Twitter. "Republicans have an obligation when the subject is of such importance to challenge demagoguery and patently false statements."
Mr. Alexander, in his statement, cited the 2000 recount in Florida in the Bush-Gore presidential race to suggest that the current uncertainty was not without precedent, although Al Gore was never declared the victor.
"My hope is that the loser of this presidential election will follow Al Gore's example, put the country first, congratulate the winner and help him to a good beginning of the new term," he wrote.