Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, two of President Donald Trump’s most vocal Republican allies, implied Thursday that Pennsylvania’s GOP-controlled legislature should consider invalidating the popular vote and appoint its own slate of electors to award the state’s electoral votes to Trump — despite the state Senate’s leader already stating this wouldn’t happen.
Graham, who won his own reelection to the Senate this week, was asked by Fox News host Sean Hannity about a lawsuit filed by the Trump campaign over the counting of mail-in ballots. Hannity alleged, without evidence, that he had heard “report after report” that election laws were being violated, asking Graham: “Should these Republican lawmakers in Pennsylvania and elsewhere, if there’s corruption in the law … should they then invalidate this?”
“I think everything should be on the table,” Graham responded. “So there’s the process of observing an election that’s been violated. Philadelphia elections are as crooked as a snake.”
Election officials are still counting mail-in votes in Pennsylvania, many from Democratic-leaning areas. Trump was slightly ahead in the state as of late Thursday, but Biden was quickly closing the gap.
DeSantis was more direct in comments shortly afterward to Fox News host Laura Ingraham when speaking about the same falsehood:
“If there is departure from the framework, if they’re not following the law, if they are ignoring the law, then they can provide remedies as well,” the governor said of Pennsylvania’s legislature, adding that the lawmakers can “exhaust every option to make sure we have a fair count.”
Also on Thursday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) falsely declared that Trump had “won” the election and urged Republicans to “not be silent.” No victor had been called by the end of Thursday.
“President Trump won this election, so everyone who’s listening, do not be quiet,” McCarthy told Ingraham. “We cannot allow this to happen before our very eyes. You don’t need to be a Republican, you believe that every legal vote needs to count, you believe in the American process. Join together and let’s stop this.”
Pennsylvania’s Senate majority leader, Jake Corman (R), has regularly stated the Republican-controlled legislature would not appoint electors to override the popular vote, as Graham and DeSantis insinuated. Election officials in the state have assured voters that, despite Trump’s claims, there is no evidence of voter fraud, merely a mountain of mail-in ballots that are still being counted (the state wasn’t allowed to begin counting votes until Election Day).
“We have said it many times, and we will happily say it again: The Pennsylvania General Assembly does not have and will not have a hand in choosing the state’s presidential electors or in deciding the outcome of the presidential election,” Corman wrote in an op-ed in partnership with Pennsylvania’s House majority leader, Rep. Kerry Benninghoff (R), last month.
He added, “To insinuate otherwise is to inappropriately set fear into the Pennsylvania electorate with an imaginary scenario not provided for anywhere in law — or in fact.”
Trump has spent the last two days attacking the legal counting of Americans’ votes. Earlier Thursday, he sent out an all-caps missive to “STOP THE COUNT!” and then used an afternoon press conference to spread lies and cast doubt on the legitimacy of the election.
“If you count the legal votes, I easily win,” the president said falsely. “They’re trying obviously to commit fraud.”
His Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, has urged the country to be patient and “keep the faith.”