Some Republican officials publicly refuted President Donald Trump’s claims that there have been reported instances of fraud or irregularities in the vote count but those hoping to run for the White House in 2024 issued tepid support for his crusade.
Trump has claimed without any evidence that the election is being stolen by Democrats, prompting rebukes from top lawmakers.
“I saw the president’s speech last and it was very hard to watch. The president’s allegations of large-scale fraud and theft of the election are just not substantiated,” Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey told NBC. “I’m not aware of any significant wrongdoing here. Look, there are irregularities in every election. They tend to typically be very small and involve just a handful of ballots.”
Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah said Trump was “within his rights” to call for recounts and investigations but “he is wrong to say that the election was rigged, corrupt and stolen.”
“Doing so damages the cause of freedom here and around the world, weakens the institutions that lie at the foundation of the Republic, and recklessly inflames destructive and dangerous passions,” he added.
Trump advisers push back too:
Longtime Trump adviser Chris Christie urged Trump to present evidence if there was fraud.
"We heard nothing today about any evidence," he said Thursday. "This kind of thing, all it does is inflame without informing. And we cannot permit inflammation without information."
"If you're gonna say those things from behind the podium at the White House, it's his right to do it, it's his right to pursue legal action. But show us the evidence," he added. "I want to know what backs up what he said so that I can analyze it. And let me tell you, if he's right, I'll be outraged and I'm sure you would be too."
"And if he's wrong then the American people are going to be able to make the judgment about this election that the results have been fair."
Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer also refuted Trump’s claim.
"I haven't seen any evidence of it. And again, I don't think it helps his case," he said in a radio interview. "You can't just throw a term out there without being specific.”
2024 hopefuls issue statements:
After Donald Trump Jr. called out Republicans rumored to be contenders for the next election, former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley and Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Josh Hawley of Missouri issued statements backing Trump’s crusade.
“All votes that are *legally* cast should be counted. There is NO excuse not to allow poll watchers to observe counting,” Cotton said.
"We all owe @realDonaldTrump for his leadership of conservative victories for Senate, House, & state legislatures,” said Haley. "He and the American people deserve transparency & fairness as the votes are counted. The law must be followed. We have to keep the faith that the truth will prevail.”
“If last 24 hrs have made anything clear, it’s that we need new election integrity laws NOW. Ban ballot harvesting, guarantee poll watcher access, make ballot counting transparent. I will introduce,” Hawley tweeted.