WASHINGTON - Republican lawmakers were quick to criticize Trump on Thursday after the president made a series of baseless claims that people were attempting to 'steal' the election from him.
The remarks, which the president gave from the White House, included baseless claims that the election was riven with fraud and corruption and came as former Vice President Joe Biden's lead in the race grew.
"If you count the legal votes I easily win. If you count the illegal votes they can try to steal the election from us," Trump told reporters in the White House briefing room. There is no evidence of illegal voting or election fraud.
After the 17-minute speech, Republicans swiftly took to social media, several urging for patience as votes were counted and pleading for the president to stop attacking the integrity of the election.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill. and an Air Force veteran, has repeatedly criticized the president for his attacks on the election process but after Trump's speech, said, "this is getting insane."
Fact check: We checked Trump's speech about the election. Here's what we found.
We want every vote counted, yes every legal vote (of course). But, if you have legit concerns about fraud present EVIDENCE and take it to court. STOP Spreading debunked misinformation... This is getting insane.
- Adam Kinzinger (@RepKinzinger) November 6, 2020
"We want every vote counted, yes every legal vote (of course). But, if you have legit concerns about fraud present EVIDENCE and take it to court," he wrote on Twitter. "STOP Spreading debunked misinformation...This is getting insane."
Retiring Texas GOP Rep. Will Hurd was similarly blunt but used some of the strongest language among Republicans in condemning the president's rhetoric, calling it "dangerous."
"A sitting president undermining our political process & questioning the legality of the voices of countless Americans without evidence is not only dangerous & wrong, it undermines the very foundation this nation was built upon," he wrote on Twitter. "Every American should have his or her vote counted."
Trump's speech: Trump levels baseless claims about effort to 'steal' the election as Biden's lead grows
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Fellow Republican Rep. Paul Mitchell, of Michigan, stressed the need to maintain confidence in the country's election process, writing on Twitter that if a candidate "has proof of wrongdoing, it should be presented and resolved.
"Anything less harms the integrity of our elections and is dangerous for our democracy," Mitchell said. "I have experienced both losses and victories in elections. Losses hurt deeply - I know that personally. But our nation demands that its political leaders accept both wins and losses with grace and maturity. Let the voters decide."
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Every legal vote should and will be counted - as they always are. Where there are issues there are ways to address them. If anyone has proof of wrongdoing, it should be presented and resolved. Anything less harms the integrity of our elections and is dangerous for our democracy.
- Rep. Paul Mitchell (@RepPaulMitchell) November 6, 2020
Sen. Mitt Romney, the Utah Republican who frequently clashes with the president, also chimed but didn't explicitly criticize the president, stressing for Americans to "have faith in democracy" and the Constitution.
"Counting every vote is at the heart of democracy. That process is often long and, for those running, frustrating," he wrote on Twitter. "The votes will be counted. If there are irregularities alleges, they will be investigated and ultimately resolved in the court.
The condemnation from Republicans on Trump's election attacks extended beyond Congress.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, was blunt: "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."
Former Sen. Jeff Flake, an Arizona Republican who voted for Biden, said every Republican should have issue with Trump's remarks.
"No Republican should be okay with the President's statements just now," he said on Twitter. "Unacceptable. Period."
Fact check: False claims have been spreading about Election Day. We fact checked viral ones and found false claims.
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. https://t.co/BOO2iaTsEf
- Larry Hogan (@LarryHogan) November 6, 2020
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Republicans condemn Trump after baseless claim about election fraud