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Republicans accept Trump’s defeat … but not in public

When Kamala Harris returned to the Senate this week for the first time as vice president-elect, her fellow Republicans, including influential Lindsey Graham, offered their congratulations.

It was an indication that many Republicans have privately acknowledged what they refuse to say publicly: Democrats Joe Biden and Harris won the election and will take office in January.

The GOP’s public silence around the reality of Biden’s victory amounts to tacit approval of Trump’s unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud.

That has significant repercussions, delaying the transition during a deadly pandemic, casting doubt among the public and jeopardizing Biden’s ability to lead the portion of the country that could question his legitimacy.

“The consequences in the real world are dangerous,” said Eddie Glaude, head of the Department of African American Studies at Princeton University. “The long-term implications are the consolidation of doubt about the elections and what that means for the political structure. This could lead to half the country not only having deep suspicions about the democratic process but also being actively hostile towards it. It becomes difficult to imagine how we can overcome it. “

Republicans are ending the Trump administration the same way they started it: joining the president in smashing civic norms and sowing uncertainty in institutions. But his attempts to maintain public endorsement of the president began to deteriorate on Wednesday.

Private whispers about the futility of Trump’s court offensive have become more audible after Trump’s attorney, Rudy Guliani, appeared in court in Pennsylvania making broad and unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud in an attempt to invalidate the results of the polls. To a question about the case, Republican Sen. Pat Toomey said, “Let me just say that I don’t think they have any solidity” in it.

And when White House chief of staff Mark Meadows met with Republican senators, he encouraged them to “make the most of” their time with Trump, according to two senators.

Republican Senator John Cornyn said the message from Meadows was “essentially we have about 45 days left of the president’s term.” Meadows told them that the administration wanted to make sure that if the senators “had ideas of things that the White House could and should do during that period of time, that we get them to him.”

But even then a hint of denial remained.

“But he said – I have to be honest with you – he did say whether it’s 45 days or four years and 45 days,” Cornyn added.

Despite the private recognition, there have been no public efforts to push Trump out of the White House.

The president has refused to admit defeat in the presidential race and is waging legal disputes in several states, despite the fact that there is no indication or evidence of irregularities at the polls or widespread electoral fraud.

The head of the General Services Administration, Emily Murphy – appointed by Trump – has not formally initiated Biden’s transition to the White House, hampering the incoming administration’s ability to prepare to deal with a worsening pandemic that has already left 250,000 dead in the country.