A growing number of Republicans are calling on US President Donald Trump to acknowledge that he lost the election and allow for a smooth presidential transition.
Mr Trump has failed to acknowledge his loss, and has asserted, without evidence, a range of claims including that poll watchers were denied access from counting rooms, that voter tabulation machines had been hacked, and that the election was “rigged”.
Mr Trump’s campaign has filed some 16 lawsuits in numerous states across the US, attempting to block the certification of president-elect Joe Biden by the Electoral College. On Friday, his team lost cases in Michigan and Pennsylvania, and dropped one of their challenges in Arizona.
On Sunday, the President tweeted, appearing to acknowledge he had lost the election to Mr Biden. But Mr Trump later doubled down on previous statements, saying: “We will win.”
John Bolton, former national security adviser to the President, has urged Republicans to acknowledge their leader had been beaten in the election.
“He will leave the Oval Office, but he won’t do so graciously, and he’ll do lot of damage in the meantime,” Mr Bolton warned.
“I think it’s very important for leaders of the Republican Party to explain to our voters – who are not as stupid as the Democrats think – that, in fact, Trump has lost the election and that his claims of election fraud are baseless,” he said.
Mr Bolton dismissed Mr Trump’s litigation efforts against the election, calling it “the legal equivalent of pitching pennies”. He warned that the President’s efforts to block a smooth transition for the incoming administration could be a danger to the country’s national security.
Mr Bolton earlier this year published The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir about his 17 months working for Mr Trump.
A number of other Republicans have joined the call for a smooth presidential transition.
Lt Gen H.R. McMaster, another former national security adviser to the President, called the President’s claims about the election “wrong”.
“What the President says in this tweet, it’s just wrong, it’s regrettable, it’s counter-productive,” General McMaster told CNN. “I think our democracy could be stronger than ever.”
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Republican Governor of Arkansas Asa Hutchinson also said in an interview he expected Mr Biden to become the next president.
“I expect Joe Biden to be the next president of the United States. It was good, actually, to see President Trump to tweet out that he won. I think that’s the start, the start of an acknowledgment,” Mr Hutchinson said.
“And it is very important that Joe Biden have access to the intelligence briefings to make sure that he is prepared.”
“During times of transition our enemies have an opportunity to take advantage of us and we want to make sure that there is a smooth transition.”
Another Trump supporter, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, also said it was important for the presidential transition to begin, regardless of Mr Trump’s legal battles.
“I think we have to have faith in our judicial system and faith in our electoral system,” Mr DeWine said. He added the President has “every right” to pursue legal challenges in court.
“On the other hand, we know now that Joe Biden is the president-elect, and that transition for the country’s sake is important.
“And the President can go down this other track, this legal track, we can respect that. But we also need to begin that process.”
Anthony Scaramucci, who briefly served the President as the White House Communications Director, also called Mr Trump’s claims around the election “absolutely shameful” and in a tweet called him, “The worst one -term president in American history.”
Some 150 former national security, senior military and elected officials also wrote to Emily W Murphy, the leader of the General Services Administration, urging her to acknowledge Mr Biden and Kamala Harris’ victory.
They letter, sent on Thursday, warned: “Delaying the transition further poses a serious risk to our national security.”