Republican lawmakers are privately coming to terms with President Donald Trump's election loss, according to an Associated Press reporter, but they're afraid to speak publicly in fear of what actions he might take in spite.
The president continues to challenge his election loss, but White House correspondent Jonathan Lemire told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that Republicans are too afraid to admit it to the public.
"What we have seen is a growing examples in recents days of Republicans privately coming to terms with the election," Lemire said. "No better example than when now Vice President-elect [Kamla] Harris who returned to the Senate floor for a vote, a number of Republican senators, some wearing masks, whispered congratulations. Lindsey Graham, who is one of Trump's most vocal supporters, offered her a fist bump and offered her congratulations on the new post. Mark Meadows, there was discussion of what could be done in time two months of the Trump term, and we have had Republican senators now being more willing to cast doubt on the chances of these legal challenges, far-fetched legal challenges being mounted by Rudy Giuliani and others, but privately they're not willing to go there."
Republicans continue to humor the president's challenges because they're afraid that Trump will turn his loyal base against them, and they worry what he'll do once he understands he lost.
"They point to the fact that Donald Trump did win more than 70 million votes and he's popular among the Republican base who the Republicans will need for future campaigns," Lemire said. "They note, of course, there's always the long-held fear of the tweets, and two other things that have emerged here. One, they feel that if the Republicans are perceived as pushing Trump out rather than the president coming to grips on his own and kind of quietly whimpering out of office, they fear he'll make risky strategic policy decisions, perhaps more troop drawdowns."
They also fear that Trump will endanger their Senate majority out of spite.
"Senate Leader [Mitch] McConnell's primary concern, Georgia, the runoff there, where they're hopeful that Trump can still be a useful campaign asset, but at the very least they don't want him to turn on his own party," Lemire said. "They're afraid that if he perceives that the GOP is pushing him out, he'll turn on the attack and damage the chances on the two runoffs, and they need to win at least one in order to maintain control of the Senate."