Republican Mitt Romney warned Sunday that Donald Trump is starting to sound like an authoritarian leader, claiming he needs to ‘be careful in the choice of words’ as the president continues to undermine the election results.
‘I think when you say that the election was corrupt or stolen or rigged, that that’s unfortunately rhetoric that gets picked up by authoritarians around the world,’ the Utah senator told NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’ host Chuck Todd. ‘And I think it also discourages confidence in our democratic process here at home.’
‘And with a battle going on right now between authoritarianism and freedom, why, I think it’s very important that we not use language which can encourage a course in history which would be very, very unfortunate,’ Romney added.
But make no mistake, Romney continued, Trump ‘is without question the most powerful voice in our Party. He will have an enormous impact on our Party going forward.’
‘He is not disappearing by any means,’ Romney said of Trump. ‘He is the 900-pound gorilla when it comes to the Republican Party.’
Trump has repeatedly said, even before Election Day, that Democrats are trying to ‘steal’ the election by allowing mass mail-in ballots and extending the period in which some states continue to accept these remote or early voting measures.
‘We will follow the normal course in an election — recounts investigating irregularities — and when it’s over, it’ll be over,’ Romney vowed.
Republican Utah Senator Mitt Romney warned Sunday that Donald Trump is undermining American Democracy by continuing to claim the election was stolen. ‘He is not disappearing by any means,’ Romney said
He also claimed that Trump is still ‘without question the most powerful voice in our Party’ and will continued to ‘have an enormous impact on our Party going forward’
Romney said while joining CNN’s ‘State of the Union’ for another interview Sunday morning, ‘There’s just no evidence’ of widespread fraud or corruption in this election. ,
‘I think it’s important for us to recognize that the world is watching,’ he added speaking to CNN host Jake Tapper. ‘I would prefer the world to be watching a more graceful departure.’
He said while speaking to NBC that while he’s ‘more concerned about the language that’s used, I think it’s fine to pursue every legal avenue that one has.’
Trump has launched several lawsuits against various states and entities regarding the election, including ballot counting and watching and the ruling that Pennsylvania and North Carolina could continue accepting ballots days after Election Day.
On Saturday, Joe Biden declared victory after Pennsylvania projected him the winner in the key swing state – putting the former vice president over the 270 Electoral Vote threshold needed to earn the presidency.
Romney was the first Republican figure to congratulate Biden on his election Saturday, calling him and vice president-elect Kamala Harris ‘good people.’
‘Ann and I extend our congratulations to President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris,’ he said in a statement that was typical of presidential races going back decades but stood out in the contentious politics of 2020.
With his tweet, which came around 1:30 pm after networks called the race for Biden, Romney became the most senior elected Republican to call Biden ‘president-elect.’
Romney became the first senior Republican figure, along with his wife Ann, to congratulate Joe Biden on his election win Saturday
Joe Biden declared victory over Donald Trump on Saturday after Pennsylvania and Nevada projected him the winner in their states, sending his Electoral College vote threshold over the 270 needed to win
‘We know both of them as people of good will and admirable character,’ he said after referencing his wife, Ann Romney. ‘We pray that God may bless them in the days and years ahead,’ he added in the statement.
The 2012 Republican presidential nominee, who was defeated by Barack Obama with Biden on the ticket, has also often butted heads with Trump since becoming a U.S. senator to Utah in the 2018 midterm elections. He was the only Republican senator to vote for one of the articles of impeachment against Trump.
Although Romney backed Trump’s Supreme Court nomination of Amy Justice Barrett, he has also called out the president on numerous occasions when he believed Trump crossed a line. He has also slammed Trump’s handling of the coronavirus.
Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, a more establishment Republican, also congratulated Biden in a long winded statement posted to her Twitter Saturday night.
‘I congratulate President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris and will be ready to work with their administration when it takes office,’ she said. ‘While we may not agree, I will work with them to do what is right for Alaska.’
She noted in her statement that ballots are still being counted and made sure to use language like ‘projected winner’, as several Republicans still question the validity of the election.
‘But it appears we will soon turn to the peaceful transition of power, which is fundamental to our system of democracy and ultimately honors the American people,’ Murkowski added.
She concluded: ‘We must uphold that legacy, focus on bridging our divisions, and meet our challengers together as Americans.’
Murkowski won her reelection bid in Alaska on Tuesday.
Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska also congratulated Biden in a statement posted to Twitter on Saturday. She said there will soon be a ‘peaceful transition of power’
Trump has regularly attacked Romney as a loser and a ‘RINO’ – Republican in name only. He is a popular figure in his home state of Utah, a heavily conservative state where Trump has found some opposition.
The two men dined in 2016 after Trump’s win, which followed Romney calling him a ‘con man’ and a ‘fraud.’ Trump’s team floated Romney as a potential secretary of state, then cut him loose. He would eventually be elected to the Senate from Utah, where he had a home.
Romney could be a powerful force in the new closely divided Senate. Biden has said he plans to reach out to members of both parties, and he will need some centrist Republicans to get his agenda through the chamber and confirm judicial appointments.
It stood in stark contrast to what Trump was saying, after networks declared Nevada and Pennsylvania for Biden. ‘I WON THIS ELECTION, BY A LOT!’ Trump tweeted. In addition to seizing a lead in the Electoral College in projections made by the networks, Biden leads Trump by about 4 million votes in the popular vote.
Trump famously dined with Romney during the transition and floated his name for Secretary of State but then cut him loose
In a sign of how Trump’s insistence is splitting the Senate conference, Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley tweeted Saturday: ‘The media do not get to determine who the president is. The people do. When all lawful votes have been counted, recounts finished, and allegations of fraud addressed, we will know who the winner is.’
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky on Friday said ‘of course’ Trump would concede and remove himself from office if he loses the election.
‘We’ve had a peaceful transfer of power going back to 1792. Every four years, we’ve moved on to a new administration,’ McConnell said.
An aide said he had nothing to ask when questioned on whether McConnell had called Biden to congratulate him, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer did.