One of the most prominent Republicans in the US Congress on Sunday urged Donald Trump to “fight hard” and not concede his loss to Joe Biden in the race for the White House, saying unfounded allegations of fraud by the president must be investigated.
Other Republicans sought to walk a finer line, saying legal challenges must be allowed to play out.
“We will work with Biden if he wins, but Trump has not lost,” Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said on Fox News.
“Do not concede, Mr. President. Fight hard.”
Graham baselessly alleged “shenanigans” related to mailed ballots, the method a large number of Americans preferred in Tuesday’s election due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s the wild-wild west when it comes to mail-in balloting,” said Graham, a former Trump critic turned unstinting supporter.
There is no evidence that fraud has ever been a significant problem affecting mail-in voting in US presidential elections.
“Everything we worried about has come true, so if we don’t fight back in 2020 we’re never going to win again presidentially,” he nevertheless added.
Other top Republicans were more guarded in their comments but nonetheless refused to acknowledge Biden had won, saying legal challenges must go forward and vote counting must continue.
“What we need in the presidential race is to make sure every legal vote is counted, every recount is completed, and every legal challenge should be heard,” Kevin McCarthy, the top Republican in the House of Representatives, said on Fox News.
“Then and only then that America will decide who won the race.”
Trump has repeatedly made groundless allegations of fraud and has even claimed that he won the election despite projections based on results showing Biden as the clear victor.
Biden currently has at least 279 electoral votes, with only 270 needed to win. Trump has 214.