Updated Nov 6, 2020 - Politics & Policy

"This is getting insane": Republicans rebuke Trump over baseless election claims

Trump speaking in the White House Briefing Room on Nov. 5.
President Trump speaking in the White House Briefing Room on Nov. 5. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

A growing list of Republicans have reproached President Trump for his baseless claims of widespread voter fraud.

Why it matters: In televised remarks on Thursday evening, the president provided no evidence for his claim that widespread voter fraud has caused his initial lead in the presidential race to slip away. He also pledged to continue fighting to have ballots thrown out in the courts.

What they're saying:
  • Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie: "We heard nothing today about any evidence. This kind of thing, all it does is inflame without informing. And we cannot permit inflammation without information."
  • Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah): "The president ... is wrong to say that the election was rigged, corrupt and stolen — doing so damages the cause of freedom here and around the world, weakens the institutions that lie at the foundation of the Republic, and recklessly inflames destructive and dangerous passions."
  • Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.): "I saw the president's speech last night and it was very hard to watch. The president's allegations of large-scale fraud and theft of the election are just not substantiated. I'm not aware of any significant wrongdoing here."
  • Former Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.): "No Republican should be okay with the President's statements just now. Unacceptable. Period."
  • Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R): "There is no defense for the President’s comments tonight undermining our Democratic process. America is counting the votes, and we must respect the results as we always have before. No election or person is more important than our Democracy."
  • Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas): "A sitting president undermining our political process & questioning the legality of the voices of countless Americans without evidence is not only dangerous & wrong, it undermines the very foundation this nation was built upon. Every American should have his or her vote counted."
  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.): "We want every vote counted, yes every legal vote (of course). But, if you have legit concerns about fraud present EVIDENCE and take it to court. STOP Spreading debunked misinformation... This is getting insane."
  • Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-Va.): "Like [Rep. Kinzinger], I took an oath to defend this country and fight for the democratic ideals it stands for. Count every vote, yes, but stop the Bravo Sierra, Mr. President, and respect the democratic process that makes America great."
  • Rep. Paul Mitchell (R-Mich.): "Every legal vote should and will be counted — as they always are. Where there are issues there are ways to address them. If anyone has proof of wrongdoing, it should be presented and resolved. Anything less harms the integrity of our elections and is dangerous for our democracy."
  • Former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge (R): "With his remarks from the White House tonight, the President disrespected every single American who figured out a way to safely vote amid a pandemic that has taken 235,000 lives. Not to mention those who are dutifully counting that vote. Absolutely shameful. Yet so predictable."
  • Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer: "I haven't seen any evidence of it. And again, I don't think it helps his case ... If he sees an instance in Pennsylvania or Nevada and this particular thing happened, then call it out. ... But saying voter fraud ... You can't just throw a term out that without being specific."
  • 19 former U.S. attorneys, all of whom served under Republican presidents, said in a statement: “We hereby call upon the president to patiently and respectfully allow the lawful vote-counting process to continue, in accordance with applicable federal and state laws, and to avoid any further comments or other actions which can serve only to undermine our democracy."
  • Of note: Many Republicans who have condemned Trump's recent comments have been critics of the president in the past.

The big picture: Vice President Mike Pence, who did not appear with Trump at Thursday's televised briefing, tweeted, "I Stand With President [Trump]. We must count every LEGAL vote."

Go deeper: James Baker, who led Bush's recount battle, says Trump should let votes be counted

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