On Capitol Hill on Thursday, the best Republicans tried to push the needle between reassuring the American public that a peaceful transition of power would take place, while avoiding any kind of undermining of President Donald Trump, who said the opposite on Wednesday.
Republican lawmakers used a number of rhetorical techniques when addressing reporters, but the common theme was how they tried to avoid criticizing Trump too much, while insisting that one of the key principles of democracy would not be discarded if the president refused. to recognize a competition after November 3.
But Trump appears to have doubled his comments later Thursday.
“We want to make sure the election is fair and I̵
Insider has a breakdown of the reasons why Trump’s allegations of widespread fraud and the potential for election interference in postal voting are largely unfounded.
Here’s what GOP brass had to say:
Senator Ted Cruz of Texas
“I think there will be a peaceful transfer of power, and I think the real concern about the election is that Joe Biden was adamant that if he doesn’t win on election day, he intends to challenge the legitimacy of the election,” Cruz told reporters.
He added: “Hillary Clinton told him under no circumstances that Joe Biden should be recognized. And I think the threat of contesting the election is one of the real reasons why it is so important to confirm the candidates for the Supreme Court so that there is a full Supreme Court of Justice to resolve any election challenge. “
Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina
Asked by a reporter if Trump should “soften his tongue,” Graham said.
“Well, I don’t think I know what – I don’t know what the issue was, but we’re going to have a peaceful transfer of power,” Graham said.
Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah
Romney was asked what would happen if Trump did not back down, if he lost.
“I don’t think there’s a realistic scenario,” Romney said, “and I’m absolutely convinced that there will be a peaceful transition if there is a new president, or if not, why, we will have a sequel. “
Asked whether Republican colleagues should step up if Trump still insists he will not relinquish Biden’s office, Romney said: “There is no doubt, but that all the people who have vowed to support the Constitution will ensure that they will. there is a peaceful transition of power, including the president. “
Senator Rick Scott of Florida
“I have no worries,” Scott said of a peaceful transfer of power.
“Why not?” followed by a reporter.
“There will be a peaceful transfer – a transition of power,” Scott replied. “It happened forever. It will happen in November or January.”
“But if this has happened forever, why can’t the president just come out and say that?” the reporter asked.
“You have to ask him,” Scott said. “I am very, very comfortable, there will be a peaceful transition of power, there will be no way in the world that will not happen.”
Senator Corey Gardner of Colorado
“This is something I’ve been talking about in speeches since my early days when Nancy Pelosi peacefully handed the hammer to John Boner,” Gardner said. “This is a hallmark of our democracy. And I have talked for a long time about the continuing need to use this as a symbol of democracy.”
Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa
“I would have the same concern when Hillary Clinton advised Biden not to admit to the election,” Grassley told reporters.
“We have a constitution and the constitution says when the presidency ends,” he continued. “You’re just asking me from the point of view of what the president said: it’s not very good advice from Hillary Clinton to advise Biden about this.”
Senator Susan Collins of Maine
“The peaceful transfer of power is a fundamental principle of our democracy,” Collins said. “And I’m sure we’ll see that happen again.”
“I don’t know what his thinking was, but we have always had a controlled transition between administrations. And I’m sure that if there is a change in administrations, we will have peace of mind. This is fundamental to our democracy.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky
“Did you see my tweet?” McConnell asked reporters. “That sums it up pretty well.”
—Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) September 24, 2020
Update: This story contains an incorrect transcript of a quote from Senator Susan Collins. It has been updated.