Mitt Romney chides Trump’s efforts to overturn election
Republican senator says president has failed to make a plausible case of fraud or conspiracy
Washington — Republican senator Mitt Romney on Thursday denounced President Donald Trump over his continuing campaign to reverse his defeat to Joe Biden in the presidential election.
“Having failed to make even a plausible case of widespread fraud or conspiracy before any court of law, the president has now resorted to overt pressure on state and local officials to subvert the will of the people and overturn the election,” Romney, a Utah Republican, said in a statement posted on Twitter. “It is difficult to imagine a worse, more undemocratic action by a sitting president.”
The blunt criticism by Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee who has often been at odds with Trump, stands in stark contrast to most congressional Republicans who have remained silent as the president continues to issue unsubstantiated accusations about voting fraud on Twitter.
The president has refused to concede the election or authorise a transition to the Biden administration, and has filed lawsuits in several states over the outcome. Some of his allies have suggested he should try to convince Republican state legislators to overrule voters and give him those states’ Electoral College votes.
Trump invited two state GOP legislators from Michigan to meet him at the White House on Friday, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Romney, along with Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Ben Sasse of Nebraska, have broken with most Republican senators by congratulating Biden on his victory.
Earlier Thursday, Sasse issued a statement after Trump’s lawyers, led by Rudy Giuliani, held a news conference in Washington and described implausible scenarios of vast election-rigging schemes involving Democratic-run cities in several battleground states.
Their accusations ranged from unfounded complaints that Republicans were not allowed to observe vote-counting in Philadelphia and Detroit to a claim by Sidney Powell, one of the lawyers, that US voting machines made by Dominion Voting Systems had used software made in Venezuela at the direction of the country’s former president, Hugo Chavez, who died in 2013.
In a statement on Thursday evening, Dominion rejected the accusations, which it called “a flood of absurdities.”
The news conference signalled that Trump may try to prolong his long-shot crusade for weeks, even as Biden warns that a delayed transition could harm the country.
“What matters most at this stage is not the latest press conference or tweet, but what the president’s lawyers are actually saying in court,” Sasse said in his statement. “And based on what I’ve read in their filings, when Trump campaign lawyers have stood before courts under oath, they have repeatedly refused to actually allege grand fraud, because there are legal consequences for lying to judges.”
“We are a nation of laws, not tweets,” Sasse said.
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