by Jonathan Mattise —
NASHVILLE — U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander said Friday that President Donald Trump’s administration should aid President-elect Joe Biden in his transition, saying the Democrat has a “very good chance” of becoming the next president.
“If there is any chance whatsoever that Joe Biden will be the next president, and it looks like he has a very good chance, the Trump Administration should provide the Biden team with all transition materials, resources, and meetings necessary to ensure a smooth transition so that both sides are ready on day one,” the Republican from Tennessee said in a statement. “That especially should be true, for example, on vaccine distribution.”
He also drew upon the example of Al Gore, who 37 days after the 2000 election, “made the best speech of his life accepting the result” that George W. Bush would become president.
“My hope is that the loser of this presidential election will follow Al Gore’s example, put the country first, congratulate the winner and help him to a good beginning of the new term,” Alexander said. “The prompt and orderly transfer or reaffirmation of immense power after a presidential election is the most enduring symbol of our democracy.”
Alexander’s comments follow similar concerns from other prominent Tennessee Republicans who have left office, including former Gov. Bill Haslam, former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and former Sen. Bob Corker, who had some notable public feuds with Trump while in office.
“While the president has the right to legitimate legal challenges, responsible citizens cannot let the reckless actions by him and his legal team stand,” Corker said Friday on Twitter. “Republicans have an obligation when the subject is of such importance to challenge demagoguery and patently false statements.”
Those in office or taking office haven’t gone as far as calling for Trump to help in the transition or even recognizing the likelihood of a Biden presidency, including Gov. Bill Lee, Sen. Marsha Blackburn and Sen.-elect Bill Hagerty, Alexander’s replacement.
Alexander’s comments come as Trump continues to try to subvert the election results, including by summoning state legislators to the White House as part of a longshot bid to overturn Biden’s victory. He’s also calling local election officials who are trying to rescind their certification votes in Michigan, suggesting in a legal challenge that Pennsylvania set aside the popular vote there and pressuring county officials in Arizona to delay certifying vote tallies.
U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney, a Utah Republican and top Trump critic within the party, has said it’s “difficult to imagine a worse, more undemocratic action by a sitting American President” than Trump’s pressure on local and state officials to try to overturn the election.
The issues Trump’s campaign and its allies have pointed to are typical in every election: problems with signatures, secrecy envelopes and postal marks on mail-in ballots, as well as the potential for a small number of ballots to be miscast or lost. With Biden leading Trump by wide margins in key battleground states, none of those issues would have any impact on the outcome of the election.
Trump’s campaign has also launched legal challenges complaining their poll watchers were unable to scrutinize the voting process. Many of those challenges have been tossed out by judges, some within hours of their filing; and again, none of the complaints show any evidence that the outcome of the election was impacted.