While Trump incites his supporters with claims of fraud, Republicans privately insist he lost the election and will leave power, CNN's Jake Tapper says

  • Republicans privately told CNN that their public refusal to acknowledge that President-elect Joe Biden won the election "is all part of walking President Trump through this process emotionally."
  • According to CNN anchor Jake Tapper, elected Republicans insist that there will be "a peaceful transition of power to the Biden-Harris administration on January 20."
  • However, Republicans are largely unwilling to say this in public out of fear they will anger the president and in turn receive death threats from his supporters.
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Elected Republicans who are publicly going along with President Donald Trump's baseless claims that he may have won the 2020 election are reportedly doing so simply to coddle a fragile leader who will, they privately insist, ultimately leave power.

That's according to CNN's Jake Tapper, who on Tuesday said that congressional Republicans were telling him the public-facing charade about electoral irregularities "is all part of walking President Trump through this process emotionally." Indeed, they insisted that there will be "a peaceful transition of power to the Biden-Harris administration on January 20," Tapper reported. "They say that."

That may happen, however, without the sitting president ever once conceding that he lost. And it may happen without most Republicans being willing to say in public what they reportedly say in private: that a free and fair process, not fraud, led their party to lose its grip on the White House.

The race was called for Biden and his running mate Vice President-elect Kamala Harris by Decision Desk HQ and Insider on Friday just before 9 a.m. ET. Major networks and newspapers called the race for Biden on Saturday morning.

It is, of course, extraordinary for a US head of state to refuse to concede and commit to a peaceful transfer of power after losing an election. Some Republicans have couched their rhetoric in legalese, arguing that Biden's victory cannot be acknowledged until the Trump campaign's legal hopes — which hinge on false claims of fraudulent votes — are extinguished.

But that's not what the president himself has been saying. In public, Trump is not saying a winner can only be determined after all votes are counted. Rather, he is saying that, despite no evidence of fraud, he won an election that no credible observer thinks he did.

Few Republicans have been willing to chastise one of their own for declaring victory before races were called in multiple states on early Wednesday morning.

One of the few has been the party's 2012 nominee, Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah.

Trump "is wrong to say the election was rigged, corrupt, and stolen," he said last week, arguing the false claim "recklessly inflames destructive and dangerous passions."

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