It has taken them long enough, but a steady stream of Republican senators is starting to hold up the white flag on the departure of Donald Trump, albeit on grainy videos without actually daring to wave the flag.
Both Politico and The Hill have begun reporting that the tide is turning for Republicans. Their headlines in the past day were definitive:
Politico: “Republicans start to relent: ‘It looks like it will be President Biden’”
The Hill: “Republican start turning the page on Trump Era”
Between them, the two websites name-checked seven Republican senators who newly have become emboldened enough to flirt with actual reality without the use of one of those voice disguises that Mafia informants favor in TV interviews.
They are Senators John Cornyn of Texas, James Risch of Idaho, Marco Rubio of Florida, Roger Wicker of Mississippi, Roy Blunt of Missouri, Mike Rounds of South Dakota and Kevin Cramer of North Dakota.
The seven haven’t mustered the courage to go full Socialist-BLM-loving-Radical by actually congratulating Biden. So far, that list is confined to Senators Mitt Romney of Utah; Lisa Murkowski of Alaska; Ben Sasse of Nebraska; and Susan Collins of Maine.
But at least seven more GOP senators have become emboldened to flirt out loud with reality without the use of one of those voice disguisers that Mafia informants favor in TV interviews.
Here’s a summary of reporting from the Hill today:
Cornyn: “I haven’t seen anything that would change the outcome…come January the 20th we’re going to inaugurate a president and I think it’ll probably be Joe Biden.”
Risch: “This is my second transition where we move from one political party to another in the White House,” he said Friday, describing the incoming administration as having “an entirely different feeling or dynamic. It is a change in the music that is playing in the background. We go from heavy metal to classical music in one fell swoop.” That was sourced to The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, WA.
Rubio: “That will be the president-elect’s decision, obviously,” in reference to one looming Biden decision. Asked to clarify his description of Biden, he said ““ultimately that’s what the results, the preliminary results, seem to indicate. We’ll certainly have to anticipate that’s the highest likelihood at this point,” he added, noting that President Trump’s legal team is still pursuing its long-shot lawsuits.”
Wicker: “it would make sense to give Biden access to intelligence briefings. It’s reasonable for the vice president to be given security briefings. I don’t see any harm at all and actually a lot of help.:
Blunt: “I think this all works itself out.” Asked about Trump’s previous, unsubstantiated claims that he won the election, Blunt said, “I think there’s a process for that,” referring to Trump’s legal challenges in various battleground states.
These weren’t profiles in courage, but certainly reflected a departure from previous comments from the likes of Blunt, who is up for reelection in pro-Trump Missouri, where the Orange victory margin was 16 percentage points. Previously, Blunt had tried out “Trump might not have been defeated” which was akin to saying, “Trump might not have a Twitter account.”
Politico, which also quoted Rubio, Cornyn and Risch, added Cramer and Rounds to the mix.
Rounds: “We have to assume right now, based upon the current electoral count, that we are getting closer to the point where the facts on the ground will bear that out. Right now, it looks like it will be President Biden. We understand that.”
Cramer: “It grows increasingly unlikely that a remedy would involve overturning the election. Vice President Biden ought to be getting briefings and the transition ought to be in the works so that there’s an infrastructure for that. And if he ends up winning, as it seems likely he will, that he won’t have to get caught up on one day in January.”
Perhaps the best comic relief was inadvertently provided by Senator Jerry Moran of Kansas, who didn’t quite make the list of seven new senators acknowledging reality. This is as close as he got, at Politico:
“I’m working on what I want to say about this topic. I think I want to wait ... until I get my thoughts cleared on a piece of paper and in my brain.”
Notably, Senator Majority Leader Moscow Mitch McConnell has remained in his shell, full-out ignoring reporters accosting him with loaded, unfair questions like, “Who won the election?”