WASHINGTON ― One of Donald Trump’s fiercest Republican critics, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, said Tuesday that the president-elect should either provide evidence of his claims that millions of people voted illegally or stop spreading a false message.
“I don’t know what [Trump] is talking about,” Graham told The Huffington Post. “If he has evidence, bring it forward. If he doesn’t, he shouldn’t say things like that.”
Graham said he plans to introduce a bipartisan resolution in the Senate to show confidence in the integrity of the 2016 elections.
“I want people to believe — at least, the Senate be on record — that we believe the election is fair,” Graham said. “I’m sure there was problems, but it was free and fair.”
Trump, in a string of tweets Sunday afternoon, made the astonishing ― and false ― claim that millions of people voted illegally on Nov. 8, allowing his opponent, Hillary Clinton, to win the popular vote. He alleged that without those illegitimate votes, he would have dominated the popular vote in addition to his victory in the Electoral College.
There is absolutely no evidence to support Trump’s claims of widespread voter fraud.
He mentioned “serious voter fraud” in Virginia, New Hampshire and California — all states that voted for Clinton. Representatives from all three states have since come out to debunk Trump’s unfounded assertion.
Graham emphasized that Trump, as president-elect, must understand his words now carry more weight than when he was a candidate.
“He’s gotta realize he’s just not a normal person anymore,” Graham said. “He’s not a billionaire TV star — he’s the president of the United States. His words really resonate.”
HuffPost asked several Republican senators about Trump’s claims of voter fraud, but Graham was the only one to answer directly. Sens. Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), Dan Coats (Ind.) and Johnny Isakson (Ga.) are among those who said they didn’t want to discuss it.
Some, like Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), not only didn’t want to talk about it, but were outraged that reporters even asked.
“I will not talk about Donald Trump,” McCain said Tuesday. “Tell all your friends, OK?”
Asked another way about voter fraud claims, McCain answered: “I think the election has been decided, and I don’t even think about it.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) dismissed Trump’s claims of voter fraud when asked by reporters on Tuesday.
“Secretary Clinton conceded the election and it appears to me she thinks the election is over,” McConnell said. “The American people think the election is over, and I think the election is over. So it’s an interesting discussion, but it strikes me as totally irrelevant and I’m gonna move on.”
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