© 2020
Telling West Virginia's Story
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
TV Outages in Eastern Panhandle

Ex-GOP Members Of Congress Call On Trump To Accept Results

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

So, as we mentioned, most Republican lawmakers are still refusing to acknowledge Biden as president-elect. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has repeated the president's false claim that the election was stolen. Just four Republican senators have congratulated Joe Biden. On Monday, Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania came close.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PAT TOOMEY: We're on a path. It looks likely that Joe Biden is going to be the next president of the United States. It's not 100% certain, but it is quite likely. And so I think a transition process ought to begin.

GREENE: We're going to talk now to Tom Coleman. He was a Republican congressman representing Missouri for 20 years. And he and several dozen other former GOP lawmakers wrote a letter calling on their party to accept the outcome of the election. Congressman, good morning to you.

TOM COLEMAN: Well, good morning. Thank you for having me.

GREENE: Well, thanks for taking the time for us. I just want to ask - I mean, there are a lot of Republicans saying, why not wait a little more? Let states confirm results. Let the president's legal challenges play out. The implications of that are not that awful. What do you make of their argument, and why aren't you with them?

COLEMAN: Well, first, there is a right to contest if there's fraud or irregularities in an election. None have been found. Some have been manufactured by the president and his people and his lawyers. And they've filed many suits. I think they filed seven suits so far that've been tossed out of court once they're looked at by a court. And so they're frivolous. There's really no evidence of any irregularities.

In fact, The New York Times this morning is reporting that they've contacted every state in the nation and talked to the election officials, and none of them - either Democrat or Republican officials - said that there was any irregularities or fraud. So...

GREENE: Yeah, that was a striking story.

COLEMAN: ...This is just something that's a fiction made up by the president.

GREENE: With respect, what are you hoping to accomplish? I mean, you endorsed Joe Biden. You called - I mean, you supported the impeachment of President Trump. Few in the party over these years have listened to the so-called never-Trump movement. I mean, what are you hoping to pull off here?

COLEMAN: Well, what we did - we found 30 of my former colleagues who did serve in the House as Republicans, and we believe that, you know, it's a dangerous thing that the president is doing. It undermines the legitimacy of an election, which is the bedrock of our democracy, to have free and fair elections. So we just thought it was important for some Republicans, at least those of us who held office at one time, to speak up, since the ones who are in office are very disappointing to me and to others of their commentary or lack thereof.

GREENE: Do you think some Republicans are sticking with the president because we have these important Senate runoffs coming up in Georgia that may very well determine control of the Senate, that they don't want to anger the Republican base at a moment when they're - you know, they're really going to need turnout in those races?

COLEMAN: Well, I think that's very likely with Senator McConnell, who wants to make sure he is majority leader and not minority leader of the Senate. But that's - you know, they're playing with fire here because once you start telling the people that an election is illegitimate or it was fraudulently made, they will then cast this new administration that takes office in January, the Biden administration, as illegitimate.

It's the same type of maneuvers they used against Barack Obama on the birther issue, which was obviously another fiction. So it's something that detracts from our democracy, and certainly it's embarrassing for us in the world to see this happening.

GREENE: I mean, we should say 71 million Americans voted for the president. I mean, like it or not, does that tell us that he has a great deal of influence in your party for the foreseeable future? I mean, is your party now the party of Donald Trump?

COLEMAN: Well, let me just say, it's no longer my party. As Ronald Reagan once said about the Democratic Party, I didn't leave the Democratic Party; the Democratic Party left me - I just substitute Republican for Democrat. It's now the Trump Party, and it's been turned upside down for four years. Any sort of the principles or whatever that the party had before are no longer their principles from policy standpoint. So from - you know, it is what it is. But people have to recognize that this is not the traditional Republican Party, and it's something that Trump has taken over and now put his stamp on.

GREENE: In a few seconds, do you see that changing any time in the near future?

COLEMAN: Well, I think after Trump is out of office, it's going to gradually dissipate. But a lot of - there'll be a lot of people reading the tea leaves for a couple of years to see if they can, you know, come out as the new Trump or whatever. So we'll see.

GREENE: Tom Coleman, former Republican congressman from the state of Missouri. Thank you so much, congressman.

COLEMAN: My pleasure. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.


WVPB is local news, education, music, and entertainment for West Virginia.
Your donation today will help keep us strong and vital.