- President Donald Trump is refusing to concede the presidential election, and said he plans to fight the results in court.
- The issue of whether to concede has divided Trump’s inner circle, with some advising him to accept loss with dignity.
- Others are encouraging to keep disputing the results, even though his cases are widely seen as being hopeless.
- Below is Business Insider’s roundup of where figures like Melania Trump, Don Jr, Rudy Giuliani, and Jared Kushner stand on the issue.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
President Donald Trump’s refusal to accept that he lost the presidential election is dividing Trumpworld figures, who are fighting to either encourage him to concede, or to keep disputing the result.
Soon after major media networks called the election for President-elect Joe Biden, Trump’s campaign rushed out a statement saying that Biden “is rushing to falsely pose as the winner” and signaled that from Monday he would attempt to challenge the results in the courts.
Even much of Trump’s own legal team consider the attempt hopeless, as Business Insider’s Sophia Ankel has reported. But his campaign has continued asking for funds from supporters to finance the effort.
Trump “is mostly alone here,” one aide told CNN, of White House insiders. But many high-profile MAGA supporters are rallying to defend him. Here’s what his inner circle and major supporters have had to say to him, according to various reports.
Melania Trump: Concede (reportedly)
The First Lady has made no public statement, but has privately told Trump to accept defeat, a source familiar with the conversations told CNN.
“She has offered [her opinion], as she often does,” the source said.
Jared Kushner: Both sides?
The president’s son-in-law has been reported as both telling him to fight, and to accept the result of the election.
Two sources told CNN that Kushner has approached the president to tell him to give in.
However, campaign Senior Advisor Jason Miller pushed back against this report in a tweet, saying: “This story is not true … Jared has advised @realDonaldTrump to pursue all available legal remedies to ensure accuracy.”
Fox’s Laura Ingraham: “Accept defeat”
One of the president’s staunchest cheerleaders, Fox News host Laura Ingraham, took the unusual step on Friday night of advising him to accept defeat.
“If and when it’s time to accept an unfavorable outcome in this election, and we hope it never comes, President Trump needs to do it with the same grace and composure that he demonstrated at that town hall with Savannah Guthrie,” she said, in reference to his town hall event with the NBC anchor.
Sean Hannity: Keeping hope alive
The Fox anchor and Trump confidant has attempted to create a picture of hope for Trump.
Hannity also tweeted a blog post by conservative political commentator Gregg Jarrett, with the headline: “The presidency is chosen by electors from all 50 states, not news organizations riven with bias.”
Lindsey Graham: Fight
The North Carolina senator has put his money where his mouth is, telling Sean Hannity’s show on Friday that he had personally donated $500,000 to Trump’s legal efforts.
He also appeared on Fox News on Sunday to urge him not to concede and to fight in the courts.
The New York Post: Give up
The New York Post rallied hard in the president’s defense during the late stages of his campaign, including running a controversial and poorly-sourced story alleging corruption by Biden and his son in Ukraine.
But it appears that the Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid has accepted the reality in this case, with a full-page front saying “It’s Joe Time.”
—Peter Hamby (@PeterHamby) November 8, 2020
In an editorial on Saturday, the Post described Trump’s re-election as “near-impossible.”
It gave a flattering overview of his presidency, and urged him to drop “conspiracy-addled talk of a ‘stolen election'” and to concede to secure his “legacy.”
Rudy Giuliani: Fight
Giuliani has been spearheading Trump’s efforts to dispute the election results.
He has signaled that the president is going to file several federal lawsuits alleging the “uniform deprivation of the right to inspect” ballots at counting stations, CBS reported. He said he has statements from several poll watchers alleging this.
He also accused, without offering evidence, the “Democratic machine” of tampering, and of “[keeping] the votes of dead people secret,” the network reported.
“Obviously [Trump is] not going to concede when at least 600,000 ballots are in question,” CBS reported him as saying.
Don Jr. and Eric Trump: Come out swinging
The president’s two eldest sons Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr. were bullish on Thursday in defense of the president, lambasting senior Republicans on Twitter for not standing up for him more vocally.
As of Monday, the pair had retweeted numerous claims — some of them flagged as “disputed” by Twitter — of voter fraud and lack of trust in the electoral process.
Mitch McConnell: Noncommittal
McConnell on Friday echoed Trump’s unease with the results, writing in a tweet that “Every legal vote should be counted.” While not explicitly endorsing Trump’s baseless allegations of fraud, that message has been repeated by many who sympathize with him.
On Saturday, he declined to acknowledge Biden’s victory, The New York Times reported.
Kayleigh McEnany: ‘NOPE!!’
McEnany, who is unusually both a campaign advisor and White House press secretary, backed the president.
She tweeted on Sunday: “Now we are expected to roll over & unite behind Joe Biden without asking questions? NOPE!!”
Sen. Ted Cruz: Concession ‘way premature.’
Texan senator Ted Cruz told Fox News on Sunday that it was “way premature” for the president to concede, because “At this point, we do not know who has prevailed in the election,” Newsweek reported.
Jeanine Pirro: Fight this fraud
The Fox host on Thursday, retweeted Eric Trump’s call for Republicans to “have some backbone” and “fight against this fraud.”
“Time to stand up for our constitution our president and our way of life,” she added.
Newt Gingrich: Alleged an anti-Semitic conspiracy
On Sunday, Gingrich went on “Fox & Friends” to give full backing to the unfounded accusations of fraud. He also alleged, similarly without evidence, that figures “like George Soros” were behind an attempt to steal the election.
“I think [Biden] would have to do a lot to convince Republicans that this is anything except a left-wing power grab financed by people like George Soros, deeply laid in at the local level,” he said. “And, frankly, I think that it is a corrupt, stolen election.”
Soros, a Jewish billionaire who finances progressive initiatives, is a favored target among the hard right who accuse him baselessly of being behind a shady attempt to control the world order.
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