44° Good Afternoon
44° Good Afternoon

GOP is being foolish on the vote outcome

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger speaks during

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger speaks during a news conference on Monday in Atlanta. Credit: AP/Brynn Anderson

Since the polls closed four weeks ago, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has been in a tight spot, and has responded with courage. Raffensperger is a Republican supporter of President Donald Trump. And he oversees voting in a state that helped hand the White House to Joe Biden, who won Georgia by about 14,000 votes in the original count and 12,284 votes in the hand recount Raffensperger authorized.

But despite his conservative credentials, he has been savaged by Trump and Georgia’s two Republican senators, who face runoffs next month and demanded he resign. Raffensperger’s family has been threatened. One relative’s home was burglarized. Trump tweeted Monday that the state’s GOP governor, Brian Kemp, should "use his emergency powers, which can be easily done, to overrule the obstinate Secretary of State."

On Monday, Arizona certified Biden as the winner but Trump tweeted, "Wow, total corruption in Arizona, hearing on now!" But no significant corruption surfaced in that hearing, just as it has failed to surface in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and, yes, Georgia and 45 other states.

But the number of prominent Republicans who’ve called out Trump’s dishonesty is minuscule. Most party leaders, including Long Island’s current GOP House members, are unwilling to rebuke the president in any meaningful way.

Rep. Pete King, soon to retire, says Trump has the right to pursue his remedies in court but shouldn’t call the results "rigged" or "stolen." However, King won’t simply admit Biden won.

And Rep. Lee Zeldin refuses to criticize Trump's attacks, arguing that there are some cases of fraud and election vulnerabilities, and instead denounces Democrats for undermining Trump's 2016 win. Both men and Republicans nationwide who have not condemned Trump’s baseless attacks should take a cue from Raffensperger, who said this in Sunday’s Washington Post:

"If Republicans don’t start condemning this stuff, then I think they’re really complicit in it," he said. "It’s time to stand up and be counted. Are you going to stand for righteousness? Are you going to stand for integrity? Or are you going to stand for the wild mob? You wanted to condemn the wild mob when it’s on the left side. What are you going to do when it’s on our side?"

While Trump’s statements have been explosive, his evidence has been anemic; there is no proof of fraud beyond the isolated incidents that occur in every election and in every party.

This can't be dismissed as Trump being Trump, just trying to save face. Trump is pitting his dishonesty against the trustworthiness of key American institutions. From state election processes to the FBI, Justice Department, federal judges and the Supreme Court, the president is attacking essential democratic institutions for failing to help him overturn a lawful election. Republicans must choose between supporting Trump and supporting our democracy.

The vast majority of Republicans officeholders are siding with Trump, risking our nation’s future, its stability and its unity. Trump lost the presidency. The Republicans still following him are losing their own way, and any claim on the nation's trust.

— The editorial board