‘There’s damage to this’: Obama slams GOP for lining up behind Trump’s fraud claims

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Former President Barack Obama said in a new interview that it “has been disappointing” to see congressional Republicans remain supportive of President Donald Trump’s baseless claims of widespread voter fraud and his refusal to concede the 2020 White House race to President-elect Joe Biden.

“There’s damage to this,” Obama said in an interview with “CBS Sunday Morning” that is set to air in full this weekend. “Because what happens is that the peaceful transfer of power — the notion that any of us who attain an elected office, whether it’s dog catcher or president, are servants of the people, it’s a temporary job, we’re not above the rules, we’re not above the law — that’s the essence of our democracy.”

Obama also described the fraud allegations leveled by GOP lawmakers as disingenuous, saying that “they obviously didn’t think there was any fraud going on, because they didn’t say anything about it for the first two days” after Election Day, when the results in some key swing states were still unsettled. The election ultimately saw Democrats lose seats in the House of Representatives and underperform in competitive Senate races across the country, even as Biden clinched the presidency.

Still, Trump’s campaign has continued to mount legal challenges in several states aimed at reversing the election’s outcome, and congressional Republicans have broadly endorsed those efforts. Only a handful of Senate Republicans have acknowledged Biden as president-elect, although a growing number of top GOP senators have begun calling for Biden to receive intelligence briefings as part of the transition process the White House is working to slow.

In his interview, Obama suggested that Trump should emulate his behavior after the 2016 election, when “I stayed up until 2:30 in the morning, and I then called Donald Trump to congratulate him.” Trump’s margin of victory over then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in that race, Obama noted, “wasn’t greater than Joe Biden’s margin over him.”

Trump’s campaign has produced no evidence to back up his accusations of mass voter fraud or to justify his complaints about the vast expansion of mail-in balloting amid the coronavirus pandemic. In fact, a group of federal officials, election supervisors and voting technology vendors issued a statement Thursday deeming the 2020 election to be “the most secure in American history.”

And despite Trump’s bid to undermine confidence in the U.S. electoral system, come Inauguration Day next January, “Joe Biden will be the next president of the United States [and] Kamala Harris will be the next vice president,” Obama said.

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