These Republicans are publicly recognizing Biden’s legitimacy as President-elect #Breaking112
Several other Republicans, however, have taken a different approach, recognizing to various degrees that Biden will indeed become the 46th president on January 20, 2021. Here’s a look at what they’re saying.
Former President George W. Bush
Bush, who is the only living former Republican president, noted that Trump “has the right to request recounts and pursue legal challenges,” but said Biden’s win was clear.
“The American people can have confidence that this election was fundamentally fair, its integrity will be upheld, and its outcome is clear,” he said.
Karl Rove, the architect of Bush’s gubernatorial and presidential campaigns
While he didn’t heap praise on Biden or even refer to him as President-elect in his piece, Rove is clear that although Trump is within his right to challenge the results, his efforts “are unlikely to move a single state from Mr. Biden’s column, and certainly they’re not enough to change the final outcome.”
Rove, who advised the White House and Trump campaign in the run-up to the 2020 election, said that in order for the President to win, he would need to “prove systemic fraud, with illegal votes in the tens of thousands,” but that no such evidence currently exists.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine
“Joe Biden is the President-elect,” he said.
Though the governor said Trump and his campaign have “every right” to bring legal challenges contesting the election results, he said he doesn’t know the merits of the Trump campaign’s case and that it appears Biden will be the next occupant of the White House.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan
The governor told CNN’s Jake Tapper the following day that Trump “ought to at least acknowledge that he will” eventually concede. He later criticized Trump for stalling the presidential transition during the coroanvirus pandemic, saying: “With no stimulus package getting done with, with no additional virus relief with, you know, it’s crazy. We’ve got to move on.”
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker
Maine Sen. Susan Collins
Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski
The moderate Republican senator also stressed that the presidential transition process “is fundamental to our system of democracy and ultimately honors the American people.”
Utah Sen. Mitt Romney
“I do believe, however, that it’s destructive to the cause of democracy to suggest widespread fraud or corruption. There’s just no evidence of that at this stage,” Romney, who was the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, told Tapper on “State of the Union.”
Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse
Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford
The Oklahoma senator defended the President’s many legal disputes, saying the best thing right now is for Trump to be able to go through the legal process and “get real answers” before the Electoral College casts ballots in December.
Republicans suggesting the presidential transition process should begin
Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley
Grassley, who as president pro tempore is the most senior Republican in the chamber, has also not explicitly acknowledged Biden is the President-elect, but he similarly argued that the former vice president should be given access to presidential daily intelligence briefings.
“I would think — especially on classified briefings — answer is yes,” Grassley told CNN.
Asked if the General Services Administration should sign off on the requisite paperwork declaring that there is a president-elect and triggering the transition process, Grassley said that “we ought to do what we did” after the contested 2000 election.
South Dakota Sen. John Thune
Thune, who serves as the Senate majority whip, also told CNN that Biden should have access to classified briefings, though he also stopped short of referring to his former Senate colleague as President-elect.
“Well, I think that it probably makes sense to prepare for all contingencies,” Thune said when asked if Biden should get briefings. “And as these election challenges play out in court, I don’t have a problem with, and I think it’s important from a national security standpoint, continuity. And you’ve seen other members suggesting that. I think that makes sense.”
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham
Graham, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and one of Trump’s closest GOP allies, told CNN he thinks Biden should get intelligence briefings starting now.
Graham said he has not expressed his thoughts with the White House but said, “I hope so,” when asked if he expects Biden to get the briefings soon.
Ohio Sen. Rob Portman
Portman said he didn’t think it “would hurt” for Biden to start getting the briefings now, joining the growing chorus of GOP senators calling for that aspect of the transition process to begin.
CNN’s Chandelis Duster, Eric Bradner, Veronica Stracqualursi, Paul LeBlanc, Sahar Akbarzai, Jennifer Henderson, Alison Main, Caroline Kelly and Manu Raju contributed to this report.