Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) urged Republican senators on Wednesday to stand up to Donald Trump as many of them stay silent and even defend the president as he attacks democracy and refuses to concede he lost the election.
CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked the senator from Vermont and former Democratic presidential candidate for his reaction to Trump’s actions in the wake of his loss to Democrat Joe Biden.
“It is an outrage,” Sanders said. “Look. People lose close elections. Hillary Clinton lost a close election. Other people have lost close elections.”
“And what you do in America, historically, is you say, ‘I fought as hard as I could and I want to thank my supporters, and I congratulate the winner, and let’s go forward with the transition. We all love our country and we want the best for America.’”
“What he is doing right now is delegitimizing our electoral process and American democracy.”
Trump has cried foul about the results of the election without any actual evidence of fraud. He is launching legal challenges in several states to contest the results, and his administration is holding up the official transition process for his successor.
Despite projections from major news networks and The Associated Press indicating Trump lost by large margins in several key battleground states, as well as acknowledgments from world leaders that Biden is president-elect, Republican lawmakers have largely been reticent to acknowledge Biden’s victory and have maintained that Trump has a right to contest the results.
“The average Republican senator is not an idiot. They understand that Trump has lost,” Sanders said.
He raised deep concerns about the degree to which Trump intimidates Republican members of Congress.
“They are afraid to stand up to him. So you got a party, not of individuals, but almost a cult-type party where members of the Senate who know better, not just on this issue, on many other issues, come up to you privately and say, ‘Yeah, Trump is a little bit crazy, but—’ you know?’” he said.
“I would hope they get the courage to stand up as individuals and represent their constituencies and not live in fear of Donald Trump. It’s not a good thing.”
Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) made similar comments on Tuesday. He said some of his Republican colleagues were privately asking him to congratulate Biden because they couldn’t yet do so publicly.