Senate Majority Whip John Thune, the No. 2 Senate Republican, had a similar message on Monday, saying of the President, “I think he’s got a constitutional right if there are legal challenges they want to make, and I think everyone ought to let that play out,” when asked if he thinks Trump should concede the election.
So far, only a handful of Senate Republicans have done so, including Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who in a statement on Monday said, “Congratulations to President-elect Biden on his apparent victory.”
Some Senate Republicans have attempted to walk a fine line by not explicitly endorsing Trump’s claims, but not rejecting them either.
GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa said on Monday that he has not seen widespread fraud in the presidential election that could overturn the results, but did not rule out the possibility of fraud.
“I personally haven’t seen any,” Grassley said, adding, “But that doesn’t mean there hasn’t been some. I would have no way to go beyond what I know and I just know that I haven’t seen any. But there could be fraud.”
During his floor speech on Monday, McConnell made a point of saying that “no states have yet certified their election results,” when discussing the presidential election, yet he touted down-ballot wins for Republicans, saying, “According to preliminary results, voters across the nation elected and reelected Republican senators to a degree that actually stunned prognosticators.”
McConnell, at a photo opportunity with new GOP senators on Monday, declined to answer questions from CNN about the presidential election and whether he’s seen any evidence of fraud that could overturn the election.
The majority leader said during his floor speech, “Let’s not have any lectures. No lectures, about how the President should immediately, cheerfully accept preliminary election results from the same characters who just spent four years refusing to accept the validity of the last election and who insinuated that this one would be illegitimate too, if they lost again — only if they lost. So let’s have no lectures on this subject.”
Other prominent congressional Republicans have echoed the President’s claims that the election isn’t over yet.
“We’ve had the most competitive presidential race in our modern history,” House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy said on Fox News on Sunday. “That’s why every vote should be counted, every recount to go forward, and every challenge should be heard.”
This story has been updated with additional developments Monday.
CNN’s Ali Zaslav and Alex Rogers contributed to this report.