Sorry, nothing in cart.
Cracks are growing in the GOP defense of President Donald Trump’s long-shot effort to overturn the 2020 election outcome, with many top Republicans contending that Joe Biden should immediately get national security briefings, some calling for the official transition process to begin and others are acknowledging that Trump stands little chance at reversing results clearly showing he lost.
Republicans say they are willing to give Trump a chance to make his case in court. But they fully recognize that Trump is losing by margins in key battleground states that make his chances of success in his legal cases extremely grim at best. Many have grown unnerved at his purge of top national security officials. And others are making clear that Trump should concede the race once it’s evident that he’s lost his court challenges.
Some are even willing to now consider Biden “president-elect,” a title few Republicans have been willing to say publicly as Trump baselessly claims the election has been rigged.
“Sure,” Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, a West Virginia Republican, said when asked if she considers Biden “president-elect.”
While Capito says there’s a “process” for legal challenges, she added that she hoped the process would resolve itself quickly — “inside a week or so.”
“It looks like a difficult mountain for the President,” she said of his legal case.
Capito is not alone. Many Republicans privately recognize that Biden will soon be President, and they are hoping that Trump will concede the race once it’s clear his legal challenges are collapsing — and once key states have certified the results.
A top Republican source, who has been in touch with Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, said Republicans are eying the certification dates of Arizona on November 30 and Georgia on November 20 — two states with Republican governors where Biden is now leading in the vote tallies — as key moments. If the states certify the results as Biden victories, then Trump will have little recourse but to concede, they believe, though no one knows what the President will do for sure.
“I think it’s a very narrow road,” Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, a member of the Senate GOP leadership, said when asked about Trump’s chances at reversing the election’s outcome.
Indeed, with Trump losing by tens of thousands of votes in key states such as Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Nevada — and nearly 150,000 votes in Michigan — even Trump’s staunchest supporters believe that the President should concede the race if he can’t prove widespread voter fraud in court. What’s less clear is what would happen if Trump refuses to step aside if courts reject his claim.
“My guess is it’s a heavy lift, but I don’t know,” said Sen. Ron Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican and top Trump defender, when asked about the President’s efforts to overturn the results by alleging mass voter fraud and impropriety at the polls.
Asked if Trump should concede if he loses in court, Johnson said: “Yeah. The court should have the final say in these things.”
The pressure is also growing on Trump to ease the course of the transition to Biden, even as he pursues his court challenges. So, far the General Services Administration has not signed off on the official paperwork to release funds for Biden’s transition.
But Sen. Kevin Cramer, a Republican from North Dakota who is a close ally of Trump’s, said: “I would” when asked if the GSA should sign the necessary transition paperwork.
“I just think we ought to be cooperating,” Cramer told CNN. “I think you can cooperate with a transition — a peaceful transition — while also contesting in appropriate legal ways.”
Cramer added of Trump’s court cases: “I think it’s likely that we’re going to find a whole bunch of fraud, and it wouldn’t be enough to overturn the election.”
In particular, Republicans are growing most unnerved by the White House’s refusal so far to allow Biden to receive access to presidential daily briefings to provide the President-elect with the latest information about national security threats that he will have to confront once assuming the White House. The bipartisan 9/11 Commission reported that the contested 2000 election and the shortened transition ahead of George W. Bush’s inauguration contributed to the lack of preparedness by the United States ahead of the 2001 terrorist attacks.