President Trump stepped up efforts to undo his loss to Joseph R. Biden Jr. and made two calls to the Republican Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in the past few days to question the state’s official results.
Mr Trump pressed spokesman Bryan Cutler on how Republicans were going to reverse the results of an election Mr Biden is said to have won by more than 80,000 votes, a Mr Cutler spokesman Michael Straub said Monday night.
“He asked what options are available to the legislature,” said Straub, referring to the president.
A number of lawsuits by the Trump campaign and its allies alleging widespread electoral fraud in Pennsylvania have been dismissed in state and federal courts.
Proponents of Mr Trump’s unsubstantiated fraud allegations have urged Republican-led lawmakers in several states to abandon the findings, despite the Pennsylvania General Assembly being out of session and only eligible for recall by Democrat Governor Tom Wolf.
“Cutler has made it very clear what power the legislature has and what not,” said Straub, who characterized the president’s calls as a search for information instead of putting the spokesman under pressure. The calls were previously reported by the Washington Post.
Almost every state has confirmed its results, and Mr Biden has officially received more than the 270 electoral college votes required to become president.
In Pennsylvania, Mr. Biden was certified a winner by the State Department last month, and Mr. Wolf signed a “declaration” for the appointment of Mr. Biden’s electoral roll to the electoral college to vote on December 14th.
Still, 64 Republicans in the General Assembly, including Mr. Cutler and other members of the leadership, on Friday urged the Pennsylvania Congressional delegation to vote against Mr. Biden when Congress meets on Jan. 6 to approve the results of the electoral college. The efforts are highly unlikely, not least because the democratically run House of Representatives would have to agree to it. Pennsylvania’s oldest Congressional Republican Senator Pat Toomey has said through his office that he will have “no objection” to Mr. Biden’s 20 electoral votes from the state.
Mr. Trump’s personal attacks on the few top Republicans who expose his fraud claims, as in Georgia and Arizona, as well as his efforts to get allies into the party to reverse the will of voters, as in Pennsylvania, are likely to be the topic of the election next year and in the meantime in 2022. Republican primaries could become the competitions behind Mr. Trump in his baseless claims that undermine confidence in democracy.
State Representative Joanna E. McClinton, minority leader of the Pennsylvania House Democrats, called “outrageous” Republican allegations of widespread fraud, reflecting Mr. Trump’s descent into conspiracy theories and disinformation.
“We see extremists who claim they love the constitution,” she said, “but who want to throw away the constitution just because the president lost his offer for re-election.”