WASHINGTON (AP) – A prominent Republican senator said on Friday he saw no evidence to support President Donald Trump’s baseless claim that Democrats are trying to “steal” the election, even the GOP Leaders struck a more neutral tone – and others urged the White House fight.
Sen. Pat Petty of Pennsylvania, whose state has an important battleground in the presidential election, called the president’s fraud claim “very disturbing”.
“There is simply no evidence that anyone has shown me any widespread corruption or fraud,” Toomey said on “CBS This Morning.”
Tommy said, “The president’s speech last night was very disturbing to me because he made very serious allegations without any evidence.”
He said: “I voted for President Trump. I supported President Trump. I want the next president to be the one who legitimately wins the Electoral College and I will accept whatever happens. ”
Trump, who complained for weeks about mail-in ballots, increased his charges The White House said late Thursday that the counting process was unfair and corrupt. Trump did not back up his claims with any details or evidence, and state and federal officials have not reported any instances of widespread voter fraud.
Yet Senate Leader Mitch McConnell struck a more neutral tone, and other top Republicans more explicitly urged Trump to fight to defeat Democrat Joe Biden.
“Every legal vote should be counted,” McConnell tweeted on Friday morning. “All parties must follow the procedure.”
McConnell later extended testimony during a later press conference in Kentucky when repeatedly asked to say more. “Other than that, I have nothing to say,” McConnell said. “It doesn’t matter how many times you ask that I have already given my answer.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said in a more confrontational tone, it is wrong that Trump won the “election” – even though officials in many states are still counting Americans’ ballots.
“So everyone who’s listening, don’t shut up, don’t shut up about this. McCarthy told Fox News on Thursday that we can’t let this happen in front of our eyes.” Join together and let’s stop it . “
The split showed Trump still holding on to his party, especially after Congressional Republicans won seats in the House and are running for re-union with the president in the Senate.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, a top Trump aide, said on a call with reporters on Friday that he supports Trump’s efforts to challenge the vote count in several states to be called in the presidential race.
Graham said he “doesn’t believe” that Biden is going to win the presidency, but will try to work with the Democratic administration if one is established. He said on Fox News on Thursday night that he would donate $ 500,000 to the president’s “Legal Defense Fund” and urged people to pitch in pitch.
Other GOP senators, governors and other elected officials swiftly pushed back against Trump, a rare break with the president who holds a strong grip for his party.
A Republican from Illinois, Adam Kinzinger, tweeted Thursday that the president’s claims of fraud are “going crazy.” If Trump has “legitimate” concerns about fraud, he needs to be based on the evidence and taken to court, Kinzinger said, “spreading STOP misinformation.”
Maryland GOP Gov. Larry Hogan, a potential 2024 presidential hopeful who has often criticized Trump, disproportionately said: “There is no defense to the president’s comments tonight to undermine our democratic process. America is counting votes, and we should respect the results as we always have. “
“No election or person is more important than our democracy,” Hogan said on Twitter.
Other criticism, though less direct, came from members of Congress. Republican Sen. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who spoke at a recent Trump campaign rally, said in a tweet that if any candidate believes “a state is violating election laws, they need to challenge it in court and their It is right to present evidence in support of the claims. “
Rubio previously said: “Taking days to count the votes cast legally is not fraud. And the court’s challenge to votes cast after the legal voting deadline is not suppressed. “
In 2012, the party’s presidential candidate, Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah. Demanded to provide a reassuring note. Romney said the counting of votes is often “long” and “disappointing”.
If accused of any irregularity, “they will be investigated and eventually resolved in the courts,” Romney tweeted. “Have faith in democracy, our Constitution and the American people.”
Trump’s tweet announced victory on Thursday and called for officials to “stop” as they were testing how they could keep Republicans in line as he tried to challenge the voting process in court We do.
Before Trump’s speech in the White House briefing room, many Republicans challenged his efforts to curb vote-counting In Pennsylvania and other battlegrounds.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, urged that “everyone should be patient as the results unfold.” It is important that we give election officials time to complete their jobs, and we ensure that all duly cast ballots are allowed and counted, ”she said in a statement.
Rape Will Hurd, a Texas Republican who did not seek reelection, called Trump’s comments about corruption “dangerous” and “wrong.” Trump’s remarks undermine the American political process and “the very foundation of this country.” Was built, ”said Herd.
While Biden was close to Friday for the 270 electoral college votes needed to win the White House, it was unclear whether a national winner would be determined after a long time dominated by the coronovirus epidemic and its effects on the American and national economy .
Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut told The Associated Press on Thursday that he expected Republicans to step up their response to Trump’s outspoken claims. While Republicans may want to give Trump “time to make his arguments” when it becomes clear that the claims are without basis, “I hope Republicans will put public and private pressure on him,” Murphy said.
Trump’s former aide is an analyst for the New Jersey government, ABC News, who said there was no basis for Trump’s argument. Christie called Trump’s attack on the integrity of the election “a bad strategic decision” and “a bad political decision”, and it’s not the kind of decision you would expect someone to hold that position .. Which he has.
Associated Press authors Mary Claire Jalonic and Lisa Mascaro in Washington and Meg Kinnard at SC contributed to this report.