(CNN) — Two prominent Republican senators on Thursday criticized President Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn the results of the Michigan presidential election, one calling the president’s strategy “undemocratic.”
Utah Sen. Mitt Romney and Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse, two of the few lawmakers in their party willing to criticize Trump, singled out the president Thursday night for his attempts to reverse his defeat in Michigan.
Romney’s statement was the most direct criticism of Trump’s chaotic post-election strategy aimed at overturning President-elect Joe Biden’s victory than any by a Republican lawmaker to date.
“Having failed to present a plausible case of widespread fraud or conspiracy in any court of law, the president has now resorted to undue pressure on state and local officials to subvert the will of the people and overturn the elections,” Romney said in a statement posted on Twitter. “It is difficult to imagine a worse and more undemocratic action by a sitting American president.”
Romney is not the only one
Romney and Sasse reacted like this to Trump’s decision to invite Republican leaders from the Michigan legislature to the White House on Friday, as their goal is to delay or block the certification of elections in key states that went to Biden.
Sasse said in his statement that he is telling his constituents to look at what Trump’s legal team is arguing in court, not what they are saying in public.
In lawsuit after lawsuit, Trump’s team has not alleged election fraud or been unable to back up their claims with evidence. On Thursday, Trump and his allies lost cases in Arizona, Pennsylvania and Georgia.
“From what I’ve read in their filings, when Trump campaign attorneys appeared in court under oath, they have repeatedly refused to allege gross fraud, because there are legal consequences for lying to the judges,” Sasse said. “President Trump lost Michigan by more than 100,000 votes and the campaign and its allies lost or dropped the five lawsuits in Michigan for failing to present any evidence.”
Romney and Sasse’s remarks are unlikely to be a sign that support for Trump on Capitol Hill and his post-election campaign of lies and conspiracy theories is waning.
Romney was the only Republican senator who voted to convict Trump during his impeachment earlier this year and has been a frequent critic of the president. Sasse is an occasional critic of the president, but he has stepped up his criticism in recent months.
Most Republican lawmakers have encouraged the president to take his unfounded claims of voter fraud to court and have refused to recognize Biden as president-elect. Biden will win the Electoral College by a vote of 306-232, CNN projects, the same margin by which Trump won in 2016. He will also get more than 5 million more votes than Trump in the popular vote.
Reports of fraud
Despite Biden’s clear victory, Trump has sent lawyers across the country to lobby on allegations of voter fraud, aiming to have thousands of votes rejected to tilt the election in his favor. His personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, is at the forefront of the legal effort and held a circus-like press conference Thursday in which he and a host of other Trump attorneys made wild claims about fraud and voting machines that they change Trump’s votes in favor of Biden, nothing for which they had any evidence or were based on facts.
Sasse pointed to that press conference as particularly dangerous.
“Wild press conferences erode public confidence,” he said. “So no, obviously Rudy and his friends shouldn’t pressure voters to ignore their statutory certification obligations. We are a nation of laws, not tweets. “