Republicans split as Trump digs in


Republicans are split on President-elect Joe Biden’s win as President Trump digs into baseless allegations of widespread voter fraud.

Some GOP lawmakers were more accepting on Sunday of Biden's lead the day after the former vice president was projected the winner. Others leaned more into Trump’s narrative of voter fraud, championing legal challenges by the Trump campaign.

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) is one of two Republican senators who congratulated the president-elect on his win on Saturday.
But Romney told CNN’s “State of the Union” that Trump will “keep on fighting until the very end” over the results. 

“You’re not gonna change the nature of President Trump in these last days, apparently, of his presidency,” Romney said. “He is who he is. And he has a relatively relaxed relationship with the truth.”

The 2012 Republican presidential nominee said the U.S. shouldn’t expect Trump to “respond in the same way” as previous losing presidential candidates, adding the current president “doesn’t have a choice” on whether or not to leave the White House. 

The president, in the days following Election Day, has promoted unfounded accusations that voter fraud contributed to Biden’s lead and eventual projected win on Saturday. 

Trump’s campaign has filed several lawsuits to challenge the results in a few battleground states after the president spent months spreading false claims that mail-in ballots could open the election up to fraud. 

Maryland's Republican Gov. Larry Hogan said on Sunday that any potential evidence of widespread voter fraud should be released, but he doesn’t believe “anything” will “overturn” the projected election results.

“There are legal processes if you think there are mistakes, but I don’t think we’re gonna see anything that’s gonna overturn this election,” he told CNN’s “State of the Union.” 

“This is the way our system works,” he added. “Whether you like it or not, it's time to get behind the winner of the race.”

Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) said news outlets were “probably correct” to declare Biden the winner of the election but noted on CBS’s “Face The Nation” that “there’s a reason that we actually do the count.”

“So let’s let this come to its proper conclusion and in the process, maximize the number of people who have confidence it was done properly,” Toomey said. 

Biden's projected overall win was called on Saturday seconds after he earned battleground Pennsylvania's 20 electoral votes.

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) did not acknowledge Biden’s victory on Sunday, instead noting on ABC’s “This Week” that it was “time for the president to present the facts” if the Trump campaign had any evidence of voter fraud. 

Host George Stephanopoulos asked the Missouri senator why he couldn't acknowledge Biden’s win like Romney and Lisa Murkowski (R-Ark.) had in congratulating the president. 

“It’s time for the president’s lawyers to present the facts, and it’s time for those facts to speak for themselves,” Blunt answered.

GOP South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem had the most pointed defense of Trump’s assertion that Biden’s win was the result of “illegal activities,” prompting Stephanopoulos to fire back on voter fraud conspiracy theories that are not based on evidence.

Noem told ABC that “people have signed legal documents …stating that they saw illegal activities” noting that The New York Times reported “clerical errors.”

“No widespread fraud, governor. That's very different,” Stephanopoulos responded.

Later in the interview, Noem said Americans “need to know at least America still functions and we are about doing things right.”

Stephanopoulos quipped back, “It starts with providing evidence. You still have not provided it.”

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