31 former GOP House members urge Donald Trump to accept Joe Biden election win
WASHINGTON — Thirty-one former Republican members of the U.S. House on Monday called on President Donald Trump to accept results of the 2020 election – and recognize that Democratic nominee Joe Biden won – as the vast majority of current Republican lawmakers side with the president's refusal to concede.
In a joint statement, the group of former Republican U.S. representatives said they believe statements from Trump, who has leveled baseless claims about voter fraud, are efforts to "undermine the legitimacy of the election and are unacceptable."
"Every vote should be counted and the final outcome accepted by the participants because public confidence in the outcome of our elections is a bedrock of our democracy," the statement reads. "Going forward it is our hope the nation will, regardless of party or persuasion, recognize that President-Elect Joe Biden has won this election."
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The group includes former House members who bucked their party and endorsed Biden during the campaign. Among them are former Reps. Charlie Dent, R-Pa.; Charles Djou, R-Hawaii.; and Susan Molinari, R-N.Y. Former Rep. Tom Coleman, R-Mo., who also endorsed Biden, issued the statement on behalf of his former colleagues.
Biden surpassed 270 electoral votes on Saturday to claim victory in the most bitterly fought presidential election in recent history. It came after media outlets called Pennsylvania and its 20 electoral votes to the former vice president after four days of counting absentee ballots put Biden ahead, erasing a lead Trump initially boasted about on election night that included mainly votes cast on Election Day.
Biden also narrowly won Wisconsin, Michigan, Arizona, Nevada and has a lead of fewer than 11,000 votes in Georgia, which is still too close to call and the subject of a likely recount. Results aren't official until states certify them and electors cast their votes when the Electoral College meets Dec. 14.
Trump has not conceded. The Trump campaign has filed multiple lawsuits aimed at election results, including one in Pennsylvania that argues an "illegal two-tiered voting system" subjected in-person and mail-in voters to different rules. Attorney General Bill Barr announced he's authorized prosecutors to "pursue substantial allegations of voting and vote tabulation irregularities" despite little evidence of widespread voter fraud.
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Only four Republican senators – Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Susan Collins of Maine, Mitt Romney of Utah and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska – have congratulated Biden on winning. Others like Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Ted Cruz of Texas and Tom Cotton of Arkansas have said the election had not been decided.
"The media doesn't determine election results," Cotton tweeted. "Legal voters do. The same Dems who for 4 years refused to admit that Hillary lost now demand the President rush to concede. Nonsense. @realDonaldTrump has every right to pursue legal remedies and recounts. This is worth fighting for."
Vice President Mike Pence also claimed in a tweet that the race isn't over.
"Told @VP Team Today, 'it ain’t over til it’s over.. and this AIN’T over!' President @realDonaldTrump has never stopped fighting for us and we’re gonna Keep Fighting until every LEGAL vote is counted!"
Told @VP Team Today, “it ain’t over til it’s over.. and this AIN’T over!” President @realDonaldTrump has never stopped fighting for us and we’re gonna Keep Fighting until every LEGAL vote is counted! 🇺🇸
— Mike Pence (@Mike_Pence) November 9, 2020
Although Collins offered her "congratulations to President-elect Biden on his apparent victory," she also said Trump has the right to contest results.
"I understand that the president and others have questions about the results in certain states," Collins said. "There is a process in place to challenge those results and, consistent with that process, the President should be afforded the opportunity to do so."
In the House, the reaction was similar.
Some House Republicans said they would work with a Biden administration. Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., said Saturday on Twitter he was "raising my hand and committing to working with President-elect Biden," and Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, the longest-serving member of Congress, said despite his differences with Biden, "It is time to put the election behind us, and come together to work for a better tomorrow for our nation.”
But others back the president's stance. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, the top-ranking House Republican, said Sunday on Fox News the election was not over until every "legal ballot was counted, recounts concluded, and litigation finished."
Biden on Monday sought to move beyond the election and shift to transition as he announced a new advisory board that will help implement his plan to fight the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
"This election is over," Biden said. "It's time to put aside the partisanship and the rhetoric that's designed to demonize one another. It's time to end the politicization of basic responsible public health steps like mask-wearing and social distancing."
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The 31 former Republican Congress members who signed the letter are:
Rep. Tom Coleman (Missouri)
Rep. Susan Molinari (New York)
Rep. Jim Greenwood (Pennsylvania)
Rep. Jim Kolbe (Arizona)
Rep. Chris Shays (Connecticut)
Sen. Gordon Humphrey (New Hampshire)
Sen. Dave Durenberger (Minnesota)
Rep. Mickey Edwards (Oklahoma)
Rep. Dick Zimmer (New Jersey)
Rep. Jim Walsh (New York)
Rep. Ray La Hood (Illinois)
Rep. Peter Smith (Vermont)
Rep. Steve Bartlett (Texas)
Rep. Charlie Dent (Pennsylvania)
Rep. Scott Klug (Wisconsin)
Rep. John LeBoutillier (New York)
Rep. Doug Bereuter (Nebraska)
Rep. Deborah Pryce (Ohio)
Rep. Charles Djou (Hawaii)
Rep. Bob Inglis (South Carolina)
Rep. Alan Steelman (Texas)
Rep. Steve Kuykendall (California)
Rep. Connie Morella (Maryland)
Rep. Wayne Gilchrest (Maryland)
Rep. Bob Bauman (Maryland)
Rep. Mike Parker (Mississippi)
Rep. Tim Petri (Wisconsin)
Rep. Barbara Comstock (Virginia)
Rep. Carlos Curbelo (Florida)
Rep. Jack Quinn (New York)
Rep. Jim Leach (Iowa)
Staff reporter Nicholas Wu contributed to this report. Reach Joey Garrison on Twitter @joeygarrion.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Former Republican House members urge Trump to accept Biden win