President Donald Trump’s attempt to reject the U.S. election outcome was largely met by silence from Republican leaders in Congress, hours after Democrat Joe Biden was declared the winner.
In the immediate aftermath of television networks and the Associated Press calling the election for Biden, top party officials in Washington, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, had not responded to the results, even as some GOP-aligned outside groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce offered congratulations to the president-elect.
McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, tweeted on Friday that every legal vote must be counted, and that the courts are available to resolve disputes. But his office had no reaction to the race being called when contacted on Saturday.
Despite his loss to Biden, Trump continues to exert a tight hold on Republican voters that some in the GOP say will endure past his time in the White House — adding risk to any member of the party who extends an olive branch to the Democratic winner. Many also credit the president with helping to pull vulnerable Republican Senate incumbents to re-election in South Carolina, Iowa and other states.
Now, control of the Senate will be decided by two January runoffs in Georgia, and Republican leaders will be wary of alienating the party base with any quick congratulations for Biden before a concession from Trump.
Some of Trump’s most vocal allies in Congress followed the president’s lead by saying the election hasn’t yet been decided. But they didn’t repeat some of his earlier accusations of widespread fraud.
Missouri Senator Josh Hawley, a potential candidate for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, focused on the media organizations that called the election in Biden’s favor, saying that’s not how the winner will be determined.
“When all lawful votes have been counted, recounts finished, and allegations of fraud addressed, we will know who the winner is,” Hawley tweeted.
Many Republicans pivoted to the Georgia Senate contests, which will determine whether the GOP can thwart Biden’s agenda on taxes, spending and climate change.
“A Democratic majority in the Senate would cinch the radical agenda of the left,” Texas Senator John Cornyn wrote on Twitter.
Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler, headed to a runoff against Democrat Raphael Warnock, referred to the seats as the “last line of defense” for Republicans as part of a fundraising appeal on Twitter.
Senator Mitt Romney of Utah, the only Republican to vote to convict Trump and toss him from office in his impeachment trial in January, was the first Senate Republican to congratulate Biden.
Ann and I extend our congratulations to President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. We know both of them as people of good will and admirable character. We pray that God may bless them in the days and years ahead.7:27 PM · Nov 7, 2020
48K people are Tweeting about this