While Trump Is In Denial, Republican Leaders Are Moving On

Senator Shelley Moore Capito was among the first congressional Republicans to publicly begin to accept the outcome of the presidential election.

The West Virginia Republican issued a statement November 23 saying that while she was disappointed along with tens of thousands of her constituents who backed Trump, and while she supported ongoing legal challenges, the outcome was becoming clear.

“Unfortunately, election results from around the country indicate that our fellow Americans chose differently,” she said at the time.  “While some irregularities and fraud have been found and should be punished, there is no indication that these are widespread enough to call into question the outcome of the election.”

In the weeks that followed, additional court challenges—more than fifty in state and federal courts and the United States Supreme Court—failed to produce evidence of widespread fraud that would change the election.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has accepted the outcome.  The Kentucky Republican has also warned his fellow Senators that challenging the results of the election when Congress meets January 6 would force a “terrible vote” for the GOP.

Capito lines up with McConnell, and during her appearance on Talkline Tuesday, committed further to the election results.  “It’s time to turn the page,” she said.  “I accept the electoral college results.”

“As a Republican and as a leader, I think we need to…accept the fact, as hurtful as it would be for West Virginians who voted in magnitude for our President, as I did, that we didn’t win,” Capito said.

Capito, McConnell and all other Republican leaders who are not afraid of Trump’s shadow are integral to moving the country beyond the election and into governing. The just-passed Covid-19 relief bill, while far from perfect, is an example of what can be accomplished in a bipartisan and bicameral way.

There is no point in waiting for Trump to concede. Michael Cohen, Trump’s long-time fixer who eventually turned on Trump and ended up in prison for lying to Congress, writes in his book “Disloyal” that accepting defeat is not in Trump’s makeup.

Cohen writes that Trump will always stick to the narrative—“Deny, deny, deny. Accuse, accuse, accuse. Never, ever, ever concede defeat or admit weakness.”

That approach clearly appeals to some who view it as strength, but in the face of the clear outcome of the election, it also demonstrates a detachment from reality.  No wonder McConnel, Capito, Attorney General William Barr and others who have been loyal to Trump realize it is time to move on.

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