Some Republicans arrived on television Sunday morning to request that President Trump finally concede his loss to President-elect Joe Biden, a day after the former VP’s return to the White House was projected by news organizations and Biden delivered a victory speech that spoke to a divided nation amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Former New Jersey governor — and friend to Trump — Chris Christie, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) were among those who gently spoke out against the President’s refusal to concede following Biden’s speech.
Many Republicans on Capitol Hill, meanwhile, have yet to weigh in on Trump’s obstinance, and some continue to egg on the President as he makes baseless allegations that Democrats are conspiring to “STEAL” the election.
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R)
During a roundtable on ABC News, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) — who assisted President Trump in preparing for his disastrous first presidential debate against Biden — was asked whether Republicans are ready to work with Biden given how Trump and the majority of GOPers on Capitol Hill have yet to congratulate the President-elect on his victory.
Christie replied that it’s going to be “issue by issue” when it comes to “whether Republicans work with Democrats and vice versa,” before agreeing that GOPers can start by acknowledging Biden’s victory.
The former New Jersey governor said that he believes “there’s lots of Republicans trying to feel their way around” Trump’s refusal to concede.
“That’s why to me I think it was so important early on to say to the President: if your basis for not conceding is that there was voter fraud, then show us. Show us!” Christie said. “Because if you can’t show us, we can’t do this. We can’t back you blindly without evidence.”
Christie added that he hopes that Republicans won’t exactly turn their backs on the President, who he said he’s been friends with for 20 years, but that they’ll “move in the direction” of saying that “friendship doesn’t mean that you’re blind.”
“Friendship means that you will listen to somebody, give them their opportunity and if they don’t come forward with the proof, then it’s time to move on,” Christie said.
Chris Christie says he's been friends with Trump for years, "but friendship doesn’t mean that you’re blind. (It) means that you will listen to somebody, give them their opportunity and if they don’t come forward with the proof, then it’s time to move on.” https://t.co/sPlwnHbr7y pic.twitter.com/jzYepmVIFr
— ABC News (@ABC) November 8, 2020
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT)
Romney went a step beyond his Saturday acknowledgement that Biden won the presidential election by telling CNN on Sunday that it’s simply not President Trump’s nature to accept defeat, or, even, accept “truth.”
“You’re not going to change the nature of President Trump in these last days, apparently, of his presidency,” Romney told CNN’s Jake Tapper. “He is who he is. He has a relatively relaxed relationship with the truth.”
Romney argued that Trump will “keep on fighting until the very end,” but that he’s “convinced that once all remedies have been exhausted, if those are exhausted in a way that’s not favorable to him, he will accept the inevitable.”
However, Romney said he does not expect Trump “to go quietly in the night” because “that’s not how he operates.” The Utah senator added that Trump’s baseless claims that the election was stolen from him are “destructive to the cause of democracy.”
After quoting the musical “Hamilton” by saying “history has its eyes on you” — referring to Republican-elected officials who haven’t pushed back on Trump’s unfounded claims of widespread fraud in the election process — Romney argued that the President won’t have a choice to not accept the election’s results.
“You don’t have to remove him from office,” Romney said. “If he does not win on a legitimate basis, why then, he ceases to be president when Joe Biden is sworn in, it’s as simple as that.”
Sen. Mitt Romney on Pres. Trump's unfounded election fraud claims: "He has a relatively relaxed relationship with the truth. … I'm convinced that once all remedies have been exhausted, if those are exhausted in a way that's not favorable to him, he will accept the inevitable" pic.twitter.com/waICSUpiKD
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) November 8, 2020
Romney echoed his sentiment during an interview on MSNBC’s “Meet the Press” that also aired on Sunday, when he said that Trump is “without question the most powerful voice” in the Republican Party and “will have an enormous impact on our party going forward.”
“I believe the great majority of people who voted for Donald Trump want to make sure that his principles and his policies are pursued,” Romney said on MSNBC. “So yeah, he’s not disappearing by any means. He’s the 900-pound gorilla when it comes to the Republican Party.”
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
On Saturday night, following Biden’s victory speech, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) congratulated the President-elect in a statement that also acknowledged that ballots are still being counted in her state.
“While we may not always agree, I will work with them to do what is right for Alaska — just as I will continue to emphasize collaboration and bipartisanship with my colleagues in a narrowly divided Senate,” Murkowski wrote late Saturday.
Murkowski, without mentioning Trump, wrote that honoring voters’ choice “has always defined us and is the source of our exceptionalism.”
“We must uphold that legacy, focus on bridging our divisions, and meet our challenges together as Americans.”
— Sen. Lisa Murkowski (@lisamurkowski) November 8, 2020
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R)
Hogan — who’s known as a prominent critic of Trump and wrote in former President Ronald Reagan on his ballot in the 2020 presidential election — told CNN on Sunday that “whether you like it or not, it’s time to get behind the winner,” a day after Biden declared victory.
After saying that “there are legal processes if you think there are mistakes,” Hogan doubted that “we’re going to see anything that’s going to overturn this election.”
“This is the way our system works,” Hogan said. “Whether you like it or not, it’s time to get behind the winner of the race”
Asked whether Trump should concede, Hogan said Trump “ought to at least acknowledge that he will” concede, but that it might “take a few more days” since ballot-counting in three states is still happening.
“But at some point, I think very soon, the narrative may change,” Hogan said. “More and more people in my party are accepting the results, and a number of people also did congratulate the president-elect. And hopefully the president’s team will do the right thing in the end.”
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, said he hopes that President Trump will “do the right thing in the end” and concede the election to President-elect Joe Biden. https://t.co/X8huDffAHh #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/i1AxNHPg9P
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) November 8, 2020