Republican Senators Push Back Against Trump For Trying To Overturn The Election

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Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) on Thursday said directly what no other current Republican elected official is willing to say about Donald Trump: that the president is actively seeking to overturn President-elect Joe Biden's historic victory in the 2020 presidential election.

In a statement posted on Twitter, Romney condemned Trump for pressuring local GOP officials in states that Trump clearly lost to appoint pro-Trump electors ― overruling the will of the people ― in a last-ditch effort to tilt the Electoral College in his favor and steal the election.

"Having failed to make even a plausible case of widespread fraud or conspiracy before any court of law, the President has now resorted to overt pressure on state and local officials to subvert the will of the people and overturn the election," Romney, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee, said in a statement.

"It is difficult to imagine a worse, more undemocratic action by a sitting American President," the senator added.

It was the sharpest denouncement of Trump's incendiary conduct by an elected GOP official yet, but like so many times before, it came from a frequent Trump critic ― not someone in the Republican leadership.

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President Trump in the days since the Nov. 3 election
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President Trump in the days since the Nov. 3 election
US President Donald Trump arrives for a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on Veterans Day at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, on November 11, 2020. - US President Donald Trump made his first official post-election appearance Wednesday for what should be a moment of national unity to mark Veteran's Day, now marred by his refusal to acknowledge Joe Biden's win. The president visited Arlington National Cemetery, four days after US media projected his Democratic rival would take the White House. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump attends a "National Day of Observance" wreath laying ceremony on November 11, 2020 at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. - US President Donald Trump made his first official post-election appearance Wednesday for what should be a moment of national unity to mark Veteran's Day, now marred by his refusal to acknowledge Joe Biden's win. The president visited Arlington National Cemetery, four days after US media projected his Democratic rival would take the White House. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
President Donald Trump gives two thumbs up to supporters as he departs after playing golf at the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling Va., Sunday Nov. 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
President Donald Trump salutes as he participates in a Veterans Day wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
President Donald Trump plays a round of Golf at the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling Va., Sunday Nov. 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
President Donald Trump speaks at the White House, Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Donald Trump waves to supporters as he departs after playing golf at the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling Va., Sunday Nov. 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
President Donald Trump speaks at the White House, Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Donald Trump arrives at the White House after golfing Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Donald Trump walks away after speaking at the White House, Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Donald Trump, center standing, as he participates in a round of golf at the Trump National Golf Course on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, in Sterling, Va. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
President Donald Trump leaves the podium after speaking at the White House, Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Donald Trump participates in a round of golf at the Trump National Golf Course on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, in Sterling, Va. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
President Donald Trump speaks in the East Room of the White House, early Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
STERLING, VA - NOVEMBER 07: U.S. President Donald Trump golfs at Trump National Golf Club, on November 7, 2020 in Sterling, Virginia. News outlets projected that Democratic nominee Joe Biden will be the 46th president of the United States after a victory in Pennsylvania. (Photo by Al Drago/Getty Images)
President Donald Trump walks away after speaking at the White House, Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Donald Trump speaks at the White House, Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Donald Trump plays a round of Golf at the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling Va., Sunday Nov. 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
President Donald Trump speaks at the White House, Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Donald Trump speaks in the East Room of the White House, early Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
US President Donald Trump watches from the motorcade as he returns to the White House in Washington, DC, after playing golf on November 7, 2020. - Joyous celebrations erupted in Washington on Saturday after Joe Biden was declared winner of the US presidency, as several people poured into the streets of the US capital -- some of them chanting, cheering and singing in front of the White House. (Photo by ALEX EDELMAN / AFP) (Photo by ALEX EDELMAN/AFP via Getty Images)
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Trump on Thursday summoned Michigan's Republican legislative leaders to the White House for an extraordinary meeting as his campaign's legal team falsely claimed he won in a "total landslide" and openly urged state legislatures in states including Michigan, Pennsylvania and Georgia to appoint their own slate of electors.

The election "in all the swing states should be overturned, and the legislatures should make sure that the electors are selected for Trump," Trump campaign attorney Sidney Powell said during an appearance Thursday evening on Fox News.

The so-called Hail Mary option has been dismissed by legal experts in both parties as undemocratic and dangerous. Even if it fails, experts fear that it would falsely propagate the notion among millions of Trump supporters that the election was unfairly conducted and that Biden is an illegitimate president.

Earlier on Thursday, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Trump's personal lawyer, held a bizarre press conference alongside Powell at the Republican National Committee in Washington, where they both spouted conspiracy theories about supposed voter fraud in the Nov. 3 presidential election. The allegations were too far-fetched even for Fox News host Tucker Carlson, a steadfast Trump ally, who noted during his program that Powell "never sent us any evidence" to support her baseless claims and "got angry and told us to stop contacting her."

"Wild press conferences erode public trust. So no, obviously Rudy and his buddies should not pressure electors to ignore their certification obligations under the statute. We are a nation of laws, not tweets," Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) said in a statement that did not directly mention Trump.

The Nebraska senator noted that even as Trump's legal team has sought to portray some vast electoral scheme against the president in public, they've refused to actually allege fraud in court filings "because there are legal consequences for lying to judges."

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), a member of the Senate GOP leadership who was reelected this month, offered a mild rebuke of Trump's voter fraud claims in an interview earlier Thursday with conservative radio host Guy Benson.

"They have to be able to show that proof. I haven't seen proof yet. There are a lot of allegations out there. That's why we have the court system," Ernst said.

The Iowa senator did, however, condemn Powell after she falsely insinuated that political candidates of both parties pay off election officials to win, calling the statement "absolutely outrageous."

"That is an offensive comment for those of us who do stand up and represent our states in a dignified manner. We believe in honesty. We believe in the integrity of the election system," Ernst added.

- This article first appeared on HuffPost

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