Nov 6, 2020 - Politics & Policy

The Trump family's grip on the GOP

Donald Trump Jr. with Ivanka Trump on Nov. 04.
Donald Trump Jr. with Ivanka Trump on Nov. 4 in the White House. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

As officials were counting ballots well into a second day, Donald Trump Jr. sent a full-throated call on Twitter for "2024 GOP hopefuls" to defend President Trump by amplifying unsubstantiated accusations of election irregularities. Within minutes, a number of Republicans rushed to social media to defend the president.

Why it matters: The quick response shows the huge hold the Trump family has on the Republican Party, even as the president is on the cusp of defeat.

Thursday's timeline:
  • 3:48 p.m.: Donald Trump Jr. highlights the "total lack of action" from "all of the '2024 GOP hopefuls'" in a tweet and calls on them to show that "they’re willing & able to fight" for President Trump.
  • 3:50 p.m.: Donald Trump Jr. tweets his thanks to Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.), saying the governor has been "[o]ne notable exception" and "has been active and vocal."
  • 4:06 p.m.: Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) calls on his supporters in a tweet to donate to President Trump's legal defense team to support election litigation, writing, "All votes that are 'legally' cast should be counted."
  • 4:31 p.m.: Nikki Haley, former South Carolina governor and UN ambassador, tweets "We all owe [Donald Trump] for his leadership of conservative victories for Senate, House, & state legislatures. He and the American people deserve transparency & fairness as the votes are counted."
  • 4:34 p.m.: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) retweets a now-flagged video of a man claiming to be a Philadelphia poll watcher and said he’d been barred from closely observing the counting process. Cruz also claims, without evidence, that "Dem mayors are defying the law."
  • 4:35 p.m.: Sen. Cotton tweets again, calling on "EVERY Republican" to assist President Trump's legal fund and support Sens. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.) in their upcoming special elections. (At the time, Perdue had not dipped below 50% of the vote and was on track to re-election.)
  • 4:53 p.m.: Donald Trump Jr. tweets that Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) is another exception to his original tweet.
  • 6:46 p.m.: President Trump holds a briefing from the White House and makes multiple baseless claims that widespread voter fraud had caused his lead in the presidential race to "miraculously" slip away.
  • 8:07 p.m.: Sen. Hawley appears on "Tucker Carlson Tonight" and demands for "transparency" and "integrity" in the vote-counting process.
  • 9:33 p.m.: Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) appears on "Hannity" and defends President Trump's baseless claims of election fraud and announces that he will donate $500,000 to Trump's legal defense fund.
  • 9:36 p.m.: Cruz also appears on "Hannity" and calls this year's election process "outrageous," "partisan" and "lawless."

The big picture: A number of Republicans, including top Trump adviser Chris Christie, rebuked the president and his campaign after the briefing for failing to provide evidence for their claims that Democrats are "stealing" the election.

Go deeper: Trump's last stand against the truth

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