Washington – Some Republicans distanced themselves Thursday from President Donald Trump’s attempts to falsely declare his election victory and to suspend the counting of votes in Pennsylvania and other states, leaving him without significant voices of support while his reelection is in the balance.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Trump ally who was re-elected in Kentucky on Tuesday, told reporters that “claiming you’ve won the election is different from ending the count.” Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who recently spoke at a Trump campaign event, tweeted that “taking days to count legally cast votes is not fraud.” And Sen. Lisa Murkowski called for “everyone to be patient” as the results are released. “It is critical that we give election officials time to complete their work, and that we ensure that all legally cast votes are allowed and counted,” he said in a statement.
Representative Adam Kinzinger addressed Trump directly on Twitter, writing: “Stop. Come to a complete stop, ”in response to Trump’s claim that Democrats were trying to“ steal ”the election.RELATED
“The votes will be counted win or lose,” Kinzinger told Trump. “And the United States will accept that. Patience is a virtue”.
Stop. Full stop. The votes will be counted and you will either win or lose. And America will accept that. Patience is a virtue. https://t.co/iZr78QoPIH
– Adam Kinzinger (@RepKinzinger) November 4, 2020
The comments from Republican lawmakers and GOP leaders were unusual public reprimands for Trump, who has demanded, and generally received, the loyalty of Republicans during his four-year term. Most in the party try not to directly criticize Trump, even when they find his behavior unhelpful or offensive to their values and goals.
Trump’s tweets declaring himself victorious and calling on authorities to “stop the count” were early proof of how strong he can keep Republicans in line as he tries to challenge the electoral process in court.
While Democratic candidate Joe Biden was close to reaching the 270 electoral votes he needs to win the presidency on Thursday, it was unclear when an election winner will be determined after a long and bitter campaign that was dominated by the coronavirus pandemic and its effects on Americans and the national economy.
In remarks Wednesday at the White House, Trump unsubstantiated asserting that he had defeated Biden and alleged “a major fraud in our nation” as state election officials continued to count votes amid a huge surge in the participation.
Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a Trump ally who is an analyst at ABC News, said there was no basis for Trump’s argument. “You have to count all these votes that are in this moment,” he said.
Christie called Trump’s attack on the integrity of the election “a bad strategic decision” and “a bad political decision, and it is not the kind of decision you would expect someone … who occupies his position to make.”