GOP congressman says colleagues are 'waiting' on Trump to accept election results before recognizing Biden
Posted November 18, 2020 11:41 a.m. EST
CNN — Rep. Adam Kinzinger on Wednesday said he believes his Republican colleagues are "waiting" until President Donald Trump "comes to terms" with the fact that he lost the presidential election before they openly recognize Joe Biden as the next president.
Asked by CNN's John Berman on "New Day" when his colleagues would openly say it's time for the "ascertainment" of election results, a move by General Services Administration administrator Emily W. Murphy that would officially begin the transition process, the Illinois Republican said, "I think it's just a matter of a lot of people waiting out until, you know, the President comes to terms with this."
"Look, we all believe that every vote should count and we all believe that in this election, every lawsuit that's legitimate could be, you know, gone through," Kinzinger said. "But we have a tradition in this country of looking at the results, congratulating the President-elect, starting the transition process and going forward ... that is essential to the passage and the strength and the survival of democracy."
Trump, who has refused to concede the election, is pushing flimsy legal challenges in the hopes of overturning the results and is spreading baseless claims that the election was stolen from him because of voter fraud. Only a handful of national Republicans have openly acknowledged Biden as President-elect, while others have done so in private and are doubting Trump's legal efforts.
In the meantime, however, the refusal of many Republicans to acknowledge Biden as the next president offers tacit support to Trump's false statements about the election's outcome, and the administration's refusal to coordinate with Biden's campaign on matters of national security and the response to the coronavirus pandemic could jeopardize the nation's safety.
Kinzinger's observation is also a glimpse into the immense political pressure Republicans still feel in not publicly disputing a President who remains widely popular among the party's base. He also noted that he feels lawmakers are pressured by possible reactions on social media and scrutiny by "Twitter mobs."
A U.S. Air Force veteran and lieutenant colonel in the Air National Guard, Kinzinger also condemned the President's order to withdraw thousands more US troops from Afghanistan and Iraq by January 15, 2021, calling it "pointless" and is part of a promise Trump wanted to fulfill -- to withdraw all US troops from Afghanistan before he leaves office. He also said it should be Biden's decision on the future of Afghanistan and he thinks Trump is trying to "force his hand."
"With 2,500 troops, all you really have left is enough troops to defend the remaining troops who are there to defend those troops," he said. "I think it's part of his desire again to say he did it. But also, may be an attempt to hobble the next administration because now President-elect Biden is going to have to make a decision to either keep it at that risky level or go back and add troops, which is a whole new story."
He also disagreed with Trump's firing of Christopher Krebs, who was the director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and had rejected the President's voter fraud claims, regarding it as part of a "loyalty purge going on in the last month in the White House."
"What happened is, you know, Chris Krebs said the election was secure. That's his job to say that," Kinzinger said. "His job is to make sure that they are defending the elections and, of course, that is counter to what the President is trying to say, so I think that all feeds into why he's out there."