A day after President Trump’s scathing Supreme Court defeat, Republicans across the country seemed to be struggling to find the right words.
The belligerent statements from some quarters that characterized the post-election period – claims of reversed and missing votes, a “rigged” election and even threats of secession from Republicans in Texas after Friday’s decision – had given way to something that sounded like a dull resignation and acceptance. of the inevitable.
Many were completely silent, even in the face of a Tweeter of Mr. Trump himself in which he swore: “WE BEGIN TO FIGHT !!”
Of 17 Republican attorneys general who approved the case, filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, none agreed to be interviewed by The New York Times. Mr Paxton, who issued a statement calling the decision “unfortunate,” did not respond to a request for comment.
The other attorneys general who issued statements mostly seemed to acknowledge that all legal avenues had been exhausted in an attempt to overturn the election results.
Mike Hunter, the Oklahoma attorney general, saw the end of the road.
“The Supreme Court has ruled. The Electoral College will meet on Monday. We have to come to terms with the results, ”Hunter said in a Facebook interview in Oklahoma City. “We have to play the hand that is dealt to us.”
A statement from Wayne Stenehjem, the Attorney General of North Dakota, echoes this. “It now appears that all reasonably questionable legal challenges have been exhausted, and members of the Electoral College will meet across the country on Monday.”
Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt summed it up with a statement saying, “It’s time to put this election behind us.”
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, a Republican who disagreed with his state’s attorney general’s decision to join the case, said there was no viable path for Mr. Trump.
“Election votes are expected to take place on Monday, and all indications are Joe Biden will be the president-elect at that time,” Hutchinson said in a telephone interview, urging the country to move on. “It is our country’s tradition and the history of our democracy that we go beyond this hard-fought election and come together and recognize the leadership of the president-elect.
Mr Hutchinson said he believed the Texas-led effort was based on flawed legal theory, a view shared by Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine, who was among the first in her party to congratulate President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr on his victory. She called the court ruling “an unsurprisingly affirmation of the principle that a state cannot tell another state how to hold its elections.”
On Capitol Hill, the response was particularly muted among the 126 House Republicans who signed an extraordinary amicus brief supporting the suit. Aids to Representatives Kevin McCarthy of California and Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the party’s top House leaders, made no comment. And questions and requests for comment sent to the offices of more than two dozen Congressional Republicans on Saturday were either denied or ignored.
Louisiana Representative Mike Johnson, who compiled the Court Chamber’s friend’s brief, simply posted a quote on Twitter from John Quincy Adams, hinting that he had done what he could: “The duty is ours, the results are God’s. “
Only one lawmaker who signed, Rep. Bruce Westerman of Arkansas, appeared newly ready to accept that the president’s road be exhausted.
In A declaration, he called the Texas trial the “best and likely last opportunity” to get the Supreme Court to rule on the election, and said the court ruling “closed the books on challenges to the 2020 election results “.
“The electoral vote will end a hotly contested election, and we should unite as Americans to work together for the future of our country,” Mr. Westerman said, adding that Mr. Biden would be the president-elect of ‘here Monday.
Others, like Representatives Jodey Arrington of Texas and Ken Buck of Colorado, pointed out that the court had not actually dismissed the case on its merits and hinted, vaguely, that these claims may still have their time in court. But even as they pledged to keep fighting, it was clear their options dwindled.
Speaking on Fox News, Mr Buck called for Congressional hearings on election security and, while discussing two Senate rounds in Georgia, obliquely indicated that he believed Mr Biden would be president .
Another ally of the president, Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida, has raised the possibility of using a normally superficial joint session of Congress on January 6 to challenge the election results, although most lawmakers agree the path is most likely futile. .
If anything, the Supreme Court’s return served to highlight the divisions running through the president’s party more than a month after election day.
“At some point, we have to be this nation of laws,” Louisiana Republican Senator Bill Cassidy said on Fox, as he sought to instill confidence in other Republicans that the election had been decided fairly and in favor of Mr. Biden. .
Rep. Adam Kinzinger, Republican of Illinois, has been more severe, warning his party on Twitter of excesses like the secession speech launched Friday by Texas GOP President Allen West or any other Republican effort to feed false hopes among their constituents.
“I want to be clear: the Supreme Court is not the deep state,” Kinzinger wrote. in a tweet. “The case had no merit and was sent 9-0. There was no victory here. Complaining and complaining is not a manly trait, it is actually sad. Real men accept loss with grace.
Reporting was provided by Reid J. Epstein, Trip Gabriel, Giovanni Russonello and Kathleen Gray.