Several prominent Republicans put their names behind President Donald Trump’s ridiculous claims of widespread voter fraud on Sunday, egging on the President’s effort to reject the election’s results and undermine confidence in the democratic process.
“People have signed legal documents, affidavits, stating that they saw illegal activities!” Gov. Kristi Noem (R) of South Dakota told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, as if that was itself evidence of wrongdoing.
On Fox News, speaking to Maria Bartiromo, Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani said that, sure, he was prepared to present evidence of widespread fraud… just not yet.
“It takes a while to collect 2,000 affidavits,” Giuliani said.
The messages of support came a day after several networks projected that Biden had won the election — and after Trump released a statement through his campaign promising yet more legal action against elections officials and states. “We all know why Joe Biden is rushing to falsely pose as the winner, and why his media allies are trying so hard to help him: they don’t want the truth to be exposed,” he said.
But the evidence presented by Republicans has, at this point, become a standard set of weak talking points: Observers weren’t allowed to watch the ballot-counting process in Pennsylvania closely enough, they say. And a counting error in one Michigan county mistakenly awarded Trump votes to Biden. (The mistake was quickly corrected, state and local officials point out, and would have been discovered during the canvassing process even without an uproar of bad faith allegations.)
Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC), speaking later on Bartiromo’s show Sunday, said Republicans had established without a doubt that a handful of dead people had voted in Pennsylvania (though he didn’t share the evidence that made him so sure).
“There’s so much to be looked at, and I’m hellbent on looking at it,” he said.
Graham eventually got to what he said was an unavoidable political truth about mail-in voting, which exploded in popularity in light of the COVID-19 pandemic: “From a Republican point of view, mail in balloting is a nightmare for us,” he said.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), speaking after the South Carolinian, didn’t spend as much effort trying to back up the Trump campaign on its country-spanning, evidence-free allegations of fraud. But he, like his colleagues, was convinced that Joe Biden hadn’t earned the presidential call just yet.
“You know, one of the frustrating things, just as an American watching this, is you hear all these allegations of what’s going on and it’s hard to know what the facts are, it’s hard to know what the truth is,” Cruz said. “Well, we have a process for ascertaining the truth, which is that you can go and present evidence and test it in a court of law.”
The Texan offered Trump dead-enders a ray of hope: “Historically, mail-in votes are much more likely to be disqualified in a recount than in-person votes.”