WASHINGTON — Some Republicans are not falling in line behind President Donald Trump’s attempts to falsely declare victory and seek to halt some vote-counting in the presidential race, with several GOP leaders expressing rare public rebukes of the president.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., a Trump ally who usually avoids criticizing the president in public, told reporters Wednesday that “claiming you’ve won the election is different from finishing the counting.”
With millions of votes still uncounted, Trump in a 2:35 a.m. Wednesday speech at the White House baselessly claimed he had defeated Democrat Joe Biden and alleged “major fraud on our nation” as election officials work through a massive surge in mail-in ballots, which they had long warned would take extra time to count. The president called for a halt in “all voting.”
“There’s just no basis to make that argument tonight,” former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said on ABC News. “There just isn’t. All these votes have to be counted that are in now.”
Christie is a Trump ally who spent seven days in the intensive care unit after catching the coronavirus, potentially from the president, while helping him prepare for the first debate with Biden.
“You have to let the process play itself out before you judge it to be flawed. And by prematurely doing this, if there is a flaw later, he has undercut his own credibility,” Christie continued. “So I think it’s a bad strategic decision, it’s a bad political decision, and it’s not the kind of decision you would expect someone to make tonight who holds the position he holds.”
Trump’s campaign amplified their boss’s erroneous claims in public statements and threats of lawsuits, which Biden’s team dismissed as meritless, insisting even the conservative-leaning Supreme Court would not give them any consideration.