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These Republicans are publicly recognizing Biden’s legitimacy as President-elect

Several other Republicans, however, have taken a different approach, recognizing to various degrees that Biden will indeed become the 46th president on January 20, 2021. Here’s a look at what they’re saying.

Former President George W. Bush

Bush called Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on Sunday, a day after the race was called, to congratulate them, he said in a statement.

Bush, who is the only living former Republican president, noted that Trump “has the right to request recounts and pursue legal challenges,” but said Biden’s win was clear.

“The American people can have confidence that this election was fundamentally fair, its integrity will be upheld, and its outcome is clear,” he said.

Karl Rove, the architect of Bush’s gubernatorial and presidential campaigns

Rove, who is credited with helping Bush win his presidential and gubernatorial campaigns, wrote in an Wall Street Journal op-ed that the election won’t be overturned regardless of the legal challenges Trump is mounting.

While he didn’t heap praise on Biden or even refer to him as President-elect in his piece, Rove is clear that although Trump is within his right to challenge the results, his efforts “are unlikely to move a single state from Mr. Biden’s column, and certainly they’re not enough to change the final outcome.”

Rove, who advised the White House and Trump campaign in the run-up to the 2020 election, said that in order for the President to win, he would need to “prove systemic fraud, with illegal votes in the tens of thousands,” but that no such evidence currently exists.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine

DeWine, who endorsed Trump for a second term, told CNN’s John Berman on “New Day” Thursday after the race was called for Biden that “we need to consider the former vice president as the President-elect.”

“Joe Biden is the President-elect,” he said.

Though the governor said Trump and his campaign have “every right” to bring legal challenges contesting the election results, he said he doesn’t know the merits of the Trump campaign’s case and that it appears Biden will be the next occupant of the White House.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan

Hogan, a moderate Republican who did not support Trump’s reelection bid, congratulated Biden on his projected victory shortly after it was called by news organizations.

The governor told CNN’s Jake Tapper the following day that Trump “ought to at least acknowledge that he will” eventually concede. He later criticized Trump for stalling the presidential transition during the coroanvirus pandemic, saying: “With no stimulus package getting done with, with no additional virus relief with, you know, it’s crazy. We’ve got to move on.”

Ohio Republican governor says 'we need to consider' Biden the President-elect

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker

Baker, who also didn’t support Trump’s reelection campaign, congratulated Biden and Harris in a series of tweets Saturday afternoon.
Though Baker argued that if “the courts do get involved, they must move quickly to make fact-based, lawful decisions,” he called the President’s claims of voter fraud “baseless” and, like Hogan, blasted Trump for stalling the transition amid the pandemic.

Maine Sen. Susan Collins

Collins, a moderate Republican who did not endorse Trump this year, is among a small list of Senate Republicans who have congratulated Biden.
“Presidential transitions are important, and the President-elect and the Vice-President-elect should be given every opportunity to ensure that they are ready to govern on January 20th,” Collins said in a statement.

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski

Murkowski congratulated Biden and Harris in a statement hours after the race was called.

The moderate Republican senator also stressed that the presidential transition process “is fundamental to our system of democracy and ultimately honors the American people.”

Utah Sen. Mitt Romney

Romney, who did not vote for Trump in the election, called for the nation to “get behind” Biden as President-elect on Sunday, and said he has seen no evidence of widespread voter fraud.

“I do believe, however, that it’s destructive to the cause of democracy to suggest widespread fraud or corruption. There’s just no evidence of that at this stage,” Romney, who was the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, told Tapper on “State of the Union.”

Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse

Sasse offered his congratulations to Biden and Harris in a statement to the Omaha World-Herald in which he said he was praying Biden and Trump “would be wise in the execution of their respective duties during this important time in our nation.”
Senior Republican senators say Biden should have access to classified briefings

Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford

Although Lankford has not referred to Biden as the President-elect on Capitol Hill, he used that title while discussing Biden’s election last weekend at the Quail Springs Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, where he worships. The senator also made news this week when he said he will intervene if the Trump administration has not allowed Biden access to presidential daily intelligence briefings by the end of the week, indicating that he sees the former vice president as Trump’s legitimate successor.

The Oklahoma senator defended the President’s many legal disputes, saying the best thing right now is for Trump to be able to go through the legal process and “get real answers” before the Electoral College casts ballots in December.

Republicans suggesting the presidential transition process should begin

Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley

Grassley, who as president pro tempore is the most senior Republican in the chamber, has also not explicitly acknowledged Biden is the President-elect, but he similarly argued that the former vice president should be given access to presidential daily intelligence briefings.

“I would think — especially on classified briefings — answer is yes,” Grassley told CNN.

Asked if the General Services Administration should sign off on the requisite paperwork declaring that there is a president-elect and triggering the transition process, Grassley said that “we ought to do what we did” after the contested 2000 election.

South Dakota Sen. John Thune

Thune, who serves as the Senate majority whip, also told CNN that Biden should have access to classified briefings, though he also stopped short of referring to his former Senate colleague as President-elect.

“Well, I think that it probably makes sense to prepare for all contingencies,” Thune said when asked if Biden should get briefings. “And as these election challenges play out in court, I don’t have a problem with, and I think it’s important from a national security standpoint, continuity. And you’ve seen other members suggesting that. I think that makes sense.”

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham

Graham, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and one of Trump’s closest GOP allies, told CNN he thinks Biden should get intelligence briefings starting now.

Graham said he has not expressed his thoughts with the White House but said, “I hope so,” when asked if he expects Biden to get the briefings soon.

Ohio Sen. Rob Portman

Portman said he didn’t think it “would hurt” for Biden to start getting the briefings now, joining the growing chorus of GOP senators calling for that aspect of the transition process to begin.

South Dakota Sen. Mike Rounds

Rounds said Biden should have access to classified briefings “as a matter of protecting our nation’s interests.”

“At this point, just as a matter of protecting our nations interests, I do think that both the President and his competition here, Vice President Biden, should have access to those classified reports,” he said.

Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley

Hawley similarly said Biden “should absolutely be getting intelligence briefings” while Trump’s legal challenges play out.

Texas Sen. John Cornyn

Cornyn, who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee, also said Biden should have access to important classified information.

“Whether he actually gets the product itself, I think the information needs to be communicated in some way,” Cornyn said, referring to the president’s daily brief.

CNN’s Chandelis Duster, Eric Bradner, Veronica Stracqualursi, Paul LeBlanc, Sahar Akbarzai, Jennifer Henderson, Alison Main, Caroline Kelly and Manu Raju contributed to this report.




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