WASHINGTON (AP) - A key Republican senator said Friday he saw no evidence to support President Donald Trump’s baseless claim that Democrats are trying to “steal” the election and called the president’s words “very disturbing.”
Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, whose state is a key battleground in the presidential election, said “There’s simply no evidence anyone has shown me of any widespread corruption or fraud” to supported Trump’s claim Thursday of fraud in balloting.
“The president’s speech last night was very disturbing to me because he made very, very serious allegations without any evidence to support it,” Toomey told “CBS This Morning.”
He added: “I voted for President Trump. I endorsed President Trump. I want the next president to be the person who legitimately wins the Electoral College and I will accept whoever that is.”
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 05: U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) speaks during a confirmation hearing before Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs May 5, 2020 at Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Brian Miller wil
Trump, who has complained for weeks about mail-in ballots, escalated his allegations late Thursday, saying at the White House that the ballot-counting process is unfair and corrupt. Trump did not back up his claims with any details or evidence, and state and federal officials have not reported any instances of widespread voter fraud.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell struck a neutral tone: “Every legal vote should be counted,” he tweeted. “All sides must get to observe the process.”
Other GOP senators, governors and other elected officials swiftly pushed back against Trump, a rare break with the president who keeps a firm grip on his party.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a Republican from Illinois, tweeted Thursday that the president’s claims of fraud are “getting insane.” If Trump has “legit” concerns about fraud, they need to be based on evidence and taken to court, Kinzinger said, adding, “STOP Spreading debunked misinformation.”
Maryland GOP Gov. Larry Hogan, a potential 2024 presidential hopeful who has often criticized Trump, said unequivocally: “There is no defense for the President’s comments tonight undermining our Democratic process. America is counting the votes, and we must respect the results as we always have before.”
“No election or person is more important than our Democracy,” Hogan said on Twitter.
Other criticism, though less direct, came from members of Congress. Sen. Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican who spoke at a recent Trump campaign rally, said in a tweet that if any candidate believes “a state is violating election laws they have a right to challenge it in court & produce evidence in support of their claims.″
Rubio said earlier: “Taking days to count legally cast votes is NOT fraud. And court challenges to votes cast after the legal voting deadline is NOT suppression.”