Beyond irresponsible: Republicans must put Americans and reality ahead of fealty to Trump
Republicans are embarrassing America. It's past time to admit Trump lost, congratulate Biden, stop spouting misinformation and move on to a transition.
The election is over. Our nation turned out to vote in record numbers, and the results are clear. This was a free and fair election of which we can be proud. More than 73 million votes were cast for Donald Trump and nearly 79 million for Joe Biden. Biden has clearly achieved the 270-vote threshold in the Electoral College, and he is the president-elect.
President Trump has refused to publicly accept the election results and has his campaign legal team filing flimsy lawsuits in battleground states. Accusations of voter fraud espoused by Trump and his circle lack any evidence. His denigration of votes that were mailed before Election Day and arrived afterwards disrespects our nation’s troops, as many of those late-arriving votes are from men and women in uniform stationed overseas.
Describing votes arriving after Election Day as fraudulent is telling those who are risking their lives for our nation that their voices don’t matter, even as our country just observed Veterans Day. The only fraud that has been proven has come from those doing the alleging.
Last-ditch Trump attempt to sow chaos
Several news outlets reported that a postal worker recanted claims cited by Republican leaders as potential evidence of widespread issues, admitting to making up his allegations. He tried to backtrack on backing off, but there's audio.
Nearly every major case brought by the president’s lawyers has been thrown out by the courts in every state in which they have been filed. Asserting that recounts will change the outcome of the election in several states is foolish. There won’t even be a recount in Arizona — the vote margin must be within 200 votes because very rarely do recounts change the total by more than that.
It is now time to come together to ensure a smooth transition, just as we have in every election in the past. With the pandemic still raging, we’re in the middle of some of the most challenging circumstances we have faced as a nation. Now more than ever, we need bipartisan commitment to move this country forward and to give President-elect Biden the support he needs to navigate us through these perilous times. The longer we wait, the harder it gets, and the cost will be paid in American lives.
Trump’s legal challenges are not a valiant effort to obtain justice; they are a last-ditch effort to sow confusion and undermine the legitimacy of our democracy.
Given this reality, it is even more irresponsible for GOP leaders — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham, House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to name just a few — to insist that this election is anything but settled.They each swore to uphold the Constitution of the United States. Statements about the election still being undecided are beyond irresponsible; they undermine our country’s ability to move forward and ultimately damage our democracy.
Stop feeding voters misinformation
Some GOP leaders have already spoken out in support of moving forward with the transition, from former President George W. Bush and Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, the party's 2012 presidential nominee, to Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey, Montana Secretary of State Corey Stapleton and former Michigan Rep. Mike Rogers, who was chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.
But all Republican leaders must put the American people ahead of fealty to Trump by acknowledging the results of the election. By constantly feeding people misinformation about the probable outcome of any of these cases or the probability of overturning this election with recounts, they are misleading Trump supporters. Their statements are going to make it even harder for Trump voters to accept his defeat and move forward.
On the world stage, GOP officials’ refusal to acknowledge the outcome of the election is damaging our claim to be a representative democracy, to which a peaceful transition of power is fundamental and has been for over two centuries. These Republican leaders are embarrassing our party and our nation with an effort that they know will not succeed. Rather than standing up for democracy, they continue to capitulate to Trump’s will, even after he has clearly lost.
Joe Biden is the president-elect and Kamala Harris is the vice president-elect. They were chosen in a fair election in which the people’s voices were heard. Neither lawsuits nor recounts are going to change that. It’s time for Republicans to stand up and admit that in every election, there is a winner and a loser. This time, Donald Trump was the loser.
Christine Todd Whitman, national chair of The Lincoln Project's Republicans and Independents for Biden coalition, was administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency from 2001 to 2003 and governor of New Jersey from 1994 to 2001. Follow her on Twitter: @GovCTW