President Donald Trump’s refusal to accept that he has lost the election to President-elect Joe Biden has him caught in between a split in his own family over whether he should concede or try to fight the results in the courts, according to CNN.
The news outlet reported Sunday that first lady Melania Trump and senior White House adviser Jared Kushner — Trump’s son-in-law — are encouraging the president to give a concession speech to the nation this week. On the other side are Trump’s sons, Eric and Donald Trump Jr., who are urging him to press on with lawsuits challenging the results in key states like Pennsylvania, which pushed news organizations to declare Biden the winner after mail-in votes gave the Democrat the lead.
Trump campaign spokesman Jason Miller denied CNN’s reporting, saying that Kushner has made no such move.
“This story is not true. Given undetermined electoral outcomes in multiple states and serious voting irregularities and lack of transparency in others, Jared has advised @realDonaldTrump to pursue all available legal remedies to ensure accuracy,” Miller tweeted Sunday.
Miller also retweeted a statement from the first lady that said, “The American people deserve fair elections. Every legal – not illegal – vote should be counted. We must protect our democracy with complete transparency.”
Trump’s campaign has already filed a number of lawsuits accusing several battleground states — including Pennsylvania, Georgia, Nevada and Michigan — of voter fraud, but they have failed to offer up evidence.
Trump was golfing at his course in Sterling, Virginia, when the race was called on Saturday morning. Shortly afterward, a statement released from the Trump campaign accused Biden of “rushing to falsely pose as the winner” and that the race is “far from over.”
Some leading Republicans have voiced their support of Trump’s defiance, including senators Lindsay Graham and Ted Cruz, who stated in social media and in cable news interviews that the president should not concede.
“I believe President Trump still has a path to victory, and that path is to count every single legal vote that was cast, but also not to count any votes that were fraudulently cast or illegally cast, and we have a legal process to determine what’s legal and what isn’t,” Cruz told Fox News, pointing to an error that counted several thousand Trump votes in Michigan for Biden. That error was nowhere enough to swing Michigan to Trump, as he trails Biden in that state by approximately 146,000 votes.
“If Republicans don’t challenge and change the U.S. election system, there’ll never be another Republican president elected again,” Graham said on Fox News. “President Trump should not concede, we’re down to 10,000 votes in Georgia, he’s going to win North Carolina, we’ve gone from 93,000 votes to 20,000 votes in Arizona, where there are more votes to be counted. There are allegations of system failure, fraud.”
Even if Graham’s prediction was true, Trump’s victory in those states would not be enough to give him the 270 electoral votes needed to win reelection. Even without those states, Biden is projected to win 279 electoral votes. Currently, he is on pace to finish with 306, the same amount Trump won four years ago.
Meanwhile, other Republicans told the press that Trump should not fight the results or call the election into question.
“The reality is, given the fact that the statisticians have come to a conclusion at this stage, I think we get behind the new president,” Sen. Mitt Romney told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.”
The one major Republican who has not spoken much on the matter is Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is set to keep control of the Senate unless Democrats win both Georgia runoff elections in January and force a 50-50 seat tie. Earlier in the week, McConnell said in a statement that “every legal vote should be counted” but has not openly encouraged the president to seek legal action to challenge the results.