Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday December 16, 2020
More Senate Republicans warily accept Trump’s loss after Electoral College vote.
Support for President Trump’s attempt to overturn his election loss began to collapse in the Senate on Monday after the Electoral College certified President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory, with many of the chamber’s top Republicans saying the time had come to recognize results that have been evident for weeks.
While they insisted that Mr. Trump could still challenge the results in court should he wish, the senators said the certification should be considered the effective conclusion of an election that has fiercely divided the country. And after weeks of silence as Mr. Trump and others in their party sought to overturn the results in increasingly extreme ways, they urged their colleagues to move on.
“I understand there are people who feel strongly about the outcome of this election, but in the end, at some point, you have to face the music,” Senator John Thune of South Dakota, Republicans’ No. 2, told reporters in the Capitol. “And I think once the Electoral College settles the issue today, it’s time for everybody to move on.”
Even Senator Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Republican who initially fanned Mr. Trump’s claims of fraud in key battleground states, said he now saw only “a very, very narrow path for the president” and had spoken with Mr. Biden and some of his likely cabinet nominees.
“I don’t see how it gets there from here, given what the Supreme Court did,” he added, referring to the justices’ decision on Friday to reject a long-shot suit by Texas seeking to overturn the results in a handful of states Mr. Biden won.
The comments amounted to a notable and swift sea change in a body that for weeks has essentially refused to acknowledge the inevitable, although the shift was far from unanimous.
Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, stayed conspicuously silent on Monday, declining to acknowledge Mr. Biden’s victory. He dedicated his only public remarks to stimulus negotiations and ignored a question about the Electoral College proceeding shouted by a reporter in the Capitol.
It was unclear on Monday if those who relented were a harbinger of a larger shift by elected Republicans to accept Mr. Trump’s defeat, or a sign of a growing rift within the party between those willing to accept reality and those — a loyal core in the Senate and the vast majority in the House — who appear ready to follow him wherever he leads.
Mr. McConnell’s allies said that he would honor the election outcome come January, but did not want to pick a fight with Mr. Trump now, for fear of damaging Republicans’ chances in a pair of January Senate runoff elections in Georgia that will decide control of the chamber.
He is also concerned, they said, that doing so could jeopardize a string of year-end legislative priorities that will require the president’s signature, including a catchall spending measure and the stimulus package to address the continuing toll of the pandemic. (New York Times)