President Donald Trump’s increasingly inane legal claims and constitutional arson are prompting a growing number of high-profile Republicans and informal advisers that it’s time for him to end his attempt to overturn his election loss.
The President, ruining time-honored traditions of a peaceful transfer of power, is firing off long-shot court challenges and heaping pressure on state election officials. His aides are stoking a political storm apparently designed to destroy Joe Biden’s presidency before it starts and to shield Trump from the historic humiliation that comes with losing an election after only a single term.
Most congressional GOP leaders are still silent. But the spectacle has some senior Republicans ready to call time. “It’s over,” GOP Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan said on CNN’s “Inside Politics” Sunday. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a frequent Trump critic, said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that Trump’s behavior was akin to that seen in a “banana republic.” And even Trump’s friend, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, speaking on ABC News’ “This Week,” branded Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani and his cohorts a “national embarrassment.”
One of the President’s friends and outside advisers, Steve Schwarzman, an investor and philanthropist, said Monday he is now looking ahead to a Biden administration.
“The outcome is very certain today and the country should move on,” Schwarzman, the CEO of the Blackstone Group, said in a statement provided to CNN. “I supported President Trump and the strong economic path he built. Like many in the business community, I am ready to help President-elect Biden and his team as they confront the significant challenges of rebuilding our post-COVID economy.”
A critical point, however, may be nearing in the confrontation between the administration and the President-elect’s team over Trump’s refusal to initiate a transition, with vote certifications due Monday in Michigan and in most counties in Pennsylvania.
If local officials move ahead despite the interference of a White House flinging baseless claims of mass fraud, they will effectively confirm yet again Biden’s capture of the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency. Trump’s position will therefore become less tenable even if he refuses to back away from false claims that he won on November 3.
But Republican officials in Michigan especially are trying to delay certification by creating partisan deadlock on the state canvassing board, which could lead to an even more serious constitutional showdown in the key swing state.
Trump’s attempts to throw out millions of lawfully cast ballots in order to win a second term by malfeasance are unfolding as the official leading the Covid-19 vaccine effort warned on CNN Sunday that a proper transition would be preferable, given the vital task of swiftly inoculating tens of millions of Americans.
“Of course, smoothness is what we all aim for, and, therefore, it would be better,” vaccine czar Moncef Slaoui said on “State of the Union.” Slaoui also delivered encouraging news that the US could reach a sufficient level of immunity through vaccinations by May, offering hope of a return to normal life even as raging infections and rising death tolls herald the pandemic’s darkest months and fears rise that Thanksgiving travel will make an awful explosion in cases even more dire.
But as Biden, who’s having to raise his own money to prepare his government since Trump is holding back millions in federal funds, moves ahead with naming several key cabinet members this week, his team warned that the stalled transition could have serious consequences.
“What we’re looking for is access to real-time information about what’s being worked on with vaccine distribution and with vaccine development and all the plans for that moving forward,” Jen Psaki, senior adviser for the transition team, told CNN’s Jake Tapper.
The President-elect is poised to nominate Antony Blinken to serve as secretary of state, people familiar with the matter told CNN’s Jeff Zeleny and Dan Merica Sunday, elevating a longtime foreign policy adviser as Biden makes his first round of Cabinet announcements Tuesday.
Trump’s legal team turns on itself
The President and his self-declared “elite strike force” legal team are more interested in amplifying their baseless claims of electoral fraud than working in the interest of all Americans to ease Biden’s assumption of power, however. The campaign’s legal gambit was dealt a death blow on Saturday when a federal judge witheringly accused them of failing to provide evidence to support an audacious request to invalidate millions of votes in Pennsylvania.
“This Court has been presented with strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations, unpled in the operative complaint and unsupported by evidence,” Judge Matthew Brann wrote in a judgment released on Saturday.
Giuliani on Sunday lodged an ultra long-shot appeal to the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals in an approach increasingly disconnected from reality. His team is asking judges to effectively disenfranchise millions of Americans without offering admissible evidence of fraud.