How Republicans are reacting to Biden’s projected victory

Some prominent Republicans are accepting the projected US election results, while others say the race is not over.

United States Senators Mitt Romney and Lamar Alexander are among the Republicans acknowledging Joe Biden's projected US presidential victory [File: Steve Helber/AP]

As United States President-elect Joe Biden celebrates his projected victory and President Donald Trump promises to litigate the outcome of vote counts in various states, some Republicans are breaking with Trump and coming forward to congratulate Biden.

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who lost to Trump in the 2016 Republican presidential primaries, told Biden he would be “praying for you and your success”.

Utah Republican Senator Mitt Romney, who has sparred with Trump throughout his presidency, congratulated Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.

Tennessee Republican Senator Lamar Alexander said, “it is important to respect and promptly accept the result. The orderly transfer or reaffirming of immense power after a presidential election is the most enduring symbol of our democracy”.

Larry Hogan, the Republican governor of Maryland, and Republican Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker both congratulated Biden on his projected victory, as well.

Keeping up the fight

Some Republicans are sticking with Trump, however, saying the election is not over just because US media outlets have projected a Biden victory.

Historically, once a winner is projected, the losing candidate eventually concedes to mark the symbolic beginning of a peaceful transfer of power.

Breaking with tradition, Trump said after the race was called that “the simple fact is this election is far from over”.

“Joe Biden has not been certified as the winner of any states, let alone any of the highly contested states headed for mandatory recounts, or states where our campaign has valid and legitimate legal challenges that could determine the ultimate victor,” Trump said in a statement.

Louisiana US Representative Steve Scalise, who as US House Minority Whip is the second highest ranking member in House Republican leadership, said, “There are still serious legal challenges that have been made, and until that process is resolved, the election is not final.”

Missouri Republican Senator Josh Hawley echoed Trump, saying “the media do not get to determine who the president is. The people do. When all lawful votes have been counted, recounts finished, and allegations of fraud addressed, we will know who the winner is”.

US Representative Jodey Arrington of Texas said it is “unwise to accept any outcome before recounts are final and it has been examined by the courts and determined to be fair and accurate”.

It is worth noting that Trump’s 2016 victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton was celebrated by Republicans shortly after his victory was projected on election night.

That is despite the fact that vote counts remained close in several key states when Trump was projected to have won that election – and some of those razor-thin results eventually led to recounts and legal disputes.

Arrington was one of the people who congratulated Trump that night in November 2016, just minutes after he was projected as the winner:

Source: Al Jazeera