President Donald Trump has leveled charges of vast fraud in several battleground states, supposedly aimed at usurping a victory that he declares he has won.
It’s a grave accusation of a grand conspiracy. The problem is, he and his team have yet to produce evidence that it’s true. Absent that, the president’s words threaten to baselessly undermine the mechanics of our democracy and give millions of Americans cause to believe a terrible crime has been committed.
Texas Republicans in Congress who have stood with Trump must make clear that this is unacceptable. They should publicly express confidence in our system.
At a minimum, Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, Reps. Kay Granger of Fort Worth and Ron Wright of Arlington, should call on the president publicly to release evidence of fraud, if his campaign has it. Rep. Roger Williams of Austin has already, unfortunately, alleged mass corruption, stirring up his Twitter followers without elaborating or providing any proof. (The social media company briefly suspended the congressman’s account.)
Trump said Thursday that “if you count the legal votes, I easily win. If you count the illegal votes, they can try to steal the election from us.” He hinted that votes being counted late in the process were inherently suspect. He suggested that polls were intentionally rigged against him. He said Democrats are in charge of vote counting in each of the remaining disputed states, which is false.
Perhaps most incredibly, the president expressed wonderment that mail-in ballots were going heavily for Democrat Joe Biden. After he and other Republicans spent months urging their followers to vote in person, what did he expect?
We’ve asked the senators and local Republican representatives about the president’s accusations, and they have yet to respond. Cornyn, to his credit, has retweeted Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell’s call for all legal votes to be counted.
Cruz has raised the issue of Republican vote-counting observers being legally barred from watching the process, though the president’s campaign has already litigated that issue.
“Republican poll watchers were denied meaningful access to the ballot processing and counting process in Philadelphia, posing a direct threat to the integrity of our elections,” his office said in a written statement. “That’s why a Pennsylvania court ordered that observers must be allowed within six feet of all aspects of the ballot counting process. As Senator Cruz has said, the American people have the right to expect votes will be counted fairly, with transparency, and not in secret.”
Cornyn, in a now-famous interview with the Star-Telegram Editorial Board, explained that he has learned it’s more effective to express disagreement with Trump in private. We agree that persuading Trump is impossible if you bawl him out in public.
This time, though, the moment is too big. It’s not primarily about the president and what he believes. It’s also about the 70 million-plus people who voted for him. They deserve to have confidence that their votes weren’t improperly diluted.