On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused in a speech to acknowledge that President-elect Joe Biden had won the election, echoing President Trump’s suggestion that voter fraud—which is so rare as to barely exist—delegitimized the former vice president’s victory.
“President Trump is 100 percent within his rights to look into allegations of irregularities and weigh his legal options,” McConnell said in a statement on the Senate floor. But so far, the “allegations of irregularities” lack any evidence. They are so off-base that even one Fox News host refused to air them.
McConnell acknowledges that the election led victories to GOP senators and House members. But for presidential race, he says "no states have yet certified their election results" and Pres. Trump is "100% within his rights" to weigh legal options. He makes no mention of Joe Biden pic.twitter.com/X8rZUXVaOA
— CBS News (@CBSNews) November 9, 2020
Trump’s attempts at suing his way to victory are unlikely to work. Biden won both the popular vote and the Electoral College by large enough margins that even the alleged fraud is unlikely to make up the deficit. Still, McConnell is sticking by Trump’s side. His unblinking deference to Trump not only strokes the president’s ego—it allows for a scenario in which Trump could refuse to leave the White House even if he lost, potentially endangering the sanctity of the United States’ democratic process.
During the Watergate scandal, when a trio of Republicans—House Minority Leader John Rhodes, Senate Minority Leader Hugh Scott, and Senator Barry Goldwater—told Richard Nixon that he was certain to be impeached, he resigned the next day. Today, conversely, a sizable portion of Republican leadership refuses to accept reality. And rather than packing his bags, Trump is out planning rallies.