Republicans continued to deny reality on Tuesday, insisting the 2020 presidential election isn’t over yet despite former Vice President Joe Biden’s clear and historic win over President Donald Trump last week.
Their refusal to break with Trump in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary prompted condemnations from critics, who accused them of undermining the very bedrock of democracy by giving credence to baseless claims of election fraud.
“There is an epidemic of delusion that is spreading out from the White House and infecting the entire Republican Party,” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said Tuesday. “President Trump didn’t win the election. Every single one of my colleagues knows this.”
While there are millions of votes yet to be counted, particularly in California and New York, Biden and his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris are on track to begin their administration next year with the largest number of votes ever received by a presidential ticket in history. The Democratic ticket is also likely to receive a larger share of the popular vote than any challenger since Franklin Roosevelt in 1932.
Trump is losing to Biden in several key battleground state by large margins ― in some states by an even larger margin than he defeated Hillary Clinton by in the 2016 presidential election. Biden currently leads Trump by approximately 20,000 votes in Wisconsin, 47,000 votes in Pennsylvania, 12,000 votes in Georgia, 14,000 votes in Arizona, and 36,000 votes in Nevada. Those margins will likely grow with the counting of additional mail-in ballots.
The vast majority of Republicans, however, say it’s premature to acknowledge Biden as the winner of the election, maintaining that Trump has a right to contest the results in court before proceeding with the official transition process to a new president. Their unwillingness to cut him loose apparently stems from the fear of angering his supporters in Georgia, where Democrats performed well enough to force two runoff elections that could decide which party controls the Senate next year.
“There’s nothing to congratulate him about,” Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) told reporters on Tuesday when asked if he congratulated the president-elect.
“The president wasn’t defeated by huge numbers ― in fact, he may not have been defeated at all,” added Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) during a press conference on Tuesday.
The whole GOP has been put in a position, with a few notable exceptions, of being mildly intimidated by the sitting president. Joe Biden
Trump was, in fact, defeated by large margins last week.
Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), meanwhile, said the winner remained unknown because the election “hasn’t been certified.”
Although the results of the election won’t be finalized until January, when members of the Electoral College cast their votes for president on behalf of their states, elections are regularly called before that process takes place. In 2016, for example, Republicans congratulated Trump on winning the presidential election based on media projections before the results were formally certified.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made perhaps the most disturbing remark on the subject when he told reporters at a press conference Tuesday, “There will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration.”
The comment, which was delivered with a smirk, came in response to a reporter asking if not engaging in the transition process promptly could pose a threat to national security.
The General Services Administration, headed by Trump appointee Emily Murphy, has resisted signing the paperwork that would give Biden access to millions of dollars in funds to run his transition team, as well as classified briefings the president receives on a daily basis. Democrats and even some Republicans have called on the federal agency to sign off on Biden’s win in order to allow him to begin the transition process out of concern for continuity of government and national security.
“Given how close the election is they should be prepared for every contingency. ... I don’t believe allowing Joe Biden to transition in any way prejudices the president’s claims,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a Trump ally and acting chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Tuesday.
Although his campaign and allies on Capitol Hill called on the GSA to relent, Biden himself downplayed the standoff with the federal agency and dismissed the notion he would have a difficult time working with Republican officials who refused to acknowledge him as president.
“It would be nice to have it; it’s not critical,” Biden said of the federal funding frozen by the GSA. “I don’t see a need for legal action, quite frankly.”
“The whole GOP has been put in a position, with a few notable exceptions, of being mildly intimidated by the sitting president,” he added, expressing confidence they would work with his administration next year.
Many of the Trump campaign’s lawsuits alleging voter fraud in several states have already been dismissed, including most recently in Michigan.
On a call with reporters Tuesday, Biden campaign senior adviser Bob Bauer called Trump’s litigation “noise” and “theatrics” and dismissed the impact of any potential recounts.
“These margins cannot be overcome in recounts,” he said.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.