Two weeks after Joe Biden was declared the president-elect, President Donald Trump and his allies continue trying to overturn the results of the Nov. 3 election, putting Republican leaders in an awkward spot.
Trump and high-profile backers have contacted local and state officials in positions in key states to potentially halt or delay the certification of results. Lawsuits — many of which have already been shot down by judges — linger. And on Thursday, having failed to sway courts of law, Trump’s legal team stepped up its attempts to undercut Biden’s win through the court of public opinion by making an unfounded claim that a rigged election and global vote-tampering conspiracy stole the election from Trump.
Trump’s post-election maneuvering has drawn widespread condemnation from Democrats, legal experts and even some former members of his administration. A few Republicans, such as former Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, have criticized Trump’s latest efforts to undermine the election.
“While the president has the right to legitimate legal challenges, responsible citizens cannot let the reckless actions by him and his legal team stand. Republicans have an obligation when the subject is of such importance to challenge demagoguery and patently false statements,” Corker tweeted.
Throughout the week and on Friday, the Miami Herald reached out to more than two dozen local, state and federal Republican leaders to ask their response to Trump’s continued efforts to question the validity of the election. Here’s what they said:
This article will be updated as officials take positions.
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio: Rubio, Florida’s senior U.S. senator and the acting chairman of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee, has publicly stressed that the Trump campaign has the legal right to file lawsuits challenging election processes. But he hasn’t said much about the allegations contained in the suits, even as the campaign has continued to push claims that failed to move judges. After Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani alleged Thursday without evidence that votes had been rigged in a scheme involving Venezuela, Rubio’s office sent the following statement to the Miami Herald: “If Cuba, Venezuela, or China had messed with American votes, no one would have screamed about it before or louder than me.” Rubio, though, wouldn’t criticize the president’s legal team for making extreme and baseless allegations from the Republican National Committee’s Washington headquarters.
U.S. Sen. Rick Scott: “We know there are bad actors in the world that are trying to disrupt our democracy,” a spokeswoman for Florida’s junior senator told the Miami Herald Friday. “But Senator Scott has not seen specific evidence related to foreign involvement in the 2020 election.” Scott was recently chosen as the next head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which helps elect Republicans — such as the two locked in runoffs in Georgia — to the U.S. Senate. His spokeswoman said Scott’s “focus is on making sure there is no fraud and that every legal vote has been counted. The president is well within his rights to pursue legal action, and Americans deserve to have confidence that the outcome is fair. “
U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz Balart: Diaz-Balart, who represents parts of Northwest Miami-Dade County and Collier County, did not respond to a request for comment Friday. He has said little about Trump’s efforts to overturn the election results. On Nov. 7, he wrote on Facebook: “Votes are still being counted in several states with close elections. Before the press names a new president, we should let the legal and vote counting process continue and let the states certify their result. Then, and only then, will we know who will be sworn in as Pres. on January 20, 2021.”
Newly elected U.S. Rep. Carlos Gimenez: Gimenez, who oversaw Miami-Dade’s elections during his nine years as county mayor, did not respond to questions Friday about the president’s latest claims that the presidential election was a “hoax.” But on Wednesday, during an interview in Washington, he defended Trump’s lawsuits, and compared Trump’s campaign to overturn the election results to 2000 Democratic presidential nominee Al Gore’s efforts to recount ballots in Florida. “When people ask if he should concede, that’s interesting. I didn’t hear the same stuff coming in 2000 when Al Gore didn’t concede for 37 days. He actually didn’t concede until the Supreme Court said ‘Ok, that’s over,’” Gimenez said.
Newly elected U.S. Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar: Salazar didn’t respond to the Miami Herald’s request for comment. On Facebook, five days after the election, she wrote this: “We’re waiting to hear what happened in Pennsylvania and other states where there are reports … of irregular voting. Only lawyers can find such evidence and only courts can decide on that evidence. We all trust American courts. Let’s look forward to the next few days. We are trusting God to protect this country from all evil.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis: DeSantis has kept a low profile since the election. He has not made any public comments about the election since Nov. 5, and has avoided press conferences. The governor’s last public comments about the election were made on Fox News, when he encouraged state legislatures in Pennsylvania and Michigan to consider setting aside the popular vote and swapping in Republican-chosen electors. DeSantis, whose endorsement by Trump helped him win the gubernatorial race, has also said that Trump should “exhaust all options” before he concedes the election to Biden. When asked about the most recent allegations raised by Trump’s legal team, DeSantis’ office referred questions to the Republican Party of Florida, which did not immediately respond.
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez: Suarez, the Republican leader of Miami-Dade’s largest city, didn’t want to talk about the U.S. election before a swearing-in ceremony for new county commissioners on Tuesday, Nov. 17. A Miami Herald reporter asked Suarez: “Was Biden elected?” The mayor declined to comment.
Miami-Dade Commission Chairwoman Rebeca Sosa: Sosa, the acting chairwoman of the Miami-Dade County Commission, declined to comment on whether Biden had won the presidential election or if the election was rigged. “She doesn’t get involved in partisan races,” said Alex Fernandez, the senior communications aide in Sosa’s commission office. “She’s a non-partisan official. She doesn’t get involved in partisan matters.”
Incoming Miami-Dade Commission Chairman Jose “Pepe” Diaz: Diaz greeted Trump at Miami International Airport this year as part of a group of county Republicans that formed a welcoming party. His office did not respond to an email inquiry about Diaz’s views on Trump’s efforts to overturn the election results. Diaz holds a non-partisan post.
Florida House Speaker Chris Sprowls: Sprowls, a Palm Harbor Republican, is among the top Florida Republicans who has not recognized Biden as president-elect. When asked by reporters on Tuesday why Florida Republicans have refused to acknowledge Biden’s victory, he brought up the Trump team’s ongoing legal battles. “That is going to play out over the next couple of weeks, and there is a time certain for it to end,” Sprowls said, adding that he believes “every legal vote should be counted and I believe every illegal vote shouldn’t be counted.” He did not delve into the voter fraud allegations that have been raised by Trump’s legal team.
Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis: Patronis did not respond to the Miami Herald. He has encouraged talk of cheating Democrats, posting a meme on his official Twitter account of the silhouette of a Democrat wearing multiple “I Voted” stickers.
Attorney General Ashley Moody: Moody, whose office did not respond to the Miami Herald, was among nine state attorneys general to sign onto a “friend of the court” brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to take up a Pennsylvania lawsuit seeking to invalidate mail ballots that were mailed in time to be counted and arrived after Election Day.
Senate President Wilton Simpson: Simpson, of Pasco County, did not respond to a request for comment made through his spokeswoman.
State Sen. Manny Diaz Jr.: Diaz Jr., a ubiquitous Trump surrogate from Northwest Miami-Dade County seeking to become Senate president in 2025, did not respond to a request for comment.
State Sen. Ana Maria Rodriguez: Rodriguez, who represents the state’s southernmost Florida Senate district, did not respond to a request for comment.
State Sen. Ileana Garcia: Garcia, whose district includes Little Havana and Coral Gables, could not be reached for comment.
State Rep. Daniel Perez: Perez, of Westchester, did not respond to a request for comment. He is in line to become the speaker of the Florida House in 2025.
State Rep. Alex Rizo: Rizo, whose district includes Hialeah, would not comment.
State Rep. Vance Aloupis: Aloupis, who represents a central Miami-Dade swath that cuts through Pinecrest, Kendall and Palmetto Bay, did not respond to a request for comment.
State Rep. Bryan Avila: Avila, whose district includes Miami International Airport, did not respond to a request for comment.
State Rep. Anthony Rodriguez: Rodriguez, a South Miami-Dade state representative, did not respond to a request for comment.
State Rep. Juan Fernandez-Barquin: Fernandez-Barquin, who represents western Kendall, did not respond to a request for comment.
State Rep. Demi Busatta Cabrera: Busatta Cabrera, whose district includes West Miami, South Miami and Pinecrest, did not respond to a request for comment.
State Rep. David Borrero: Borrero, who represents a district that includes parts of western Miami-Dade and part of Collier County, did not respond to a request for comment.
State Rep. Tom Fabricio: Fabricio, who represents parts of Northwest Miami-Dade and Southwest Broward counties, did not respond to a request for comment.
Republican Party of Florida Chairman Joe Gruters: Gruters, a state senator from Sarasota and a longtime associate of Trump’s, did not respond to a request for comment. On Thursday, he retweeted video of Trump attorney Sidney Powell saying, “President Trump won this election by a landslide. We are going to prove it.”
Miami-Dade Republican Party Chairman Nelson Diaz: Diaz said he believes the election may have been stolen from Trump. “I do not doubt the possibility of it. It is entirely possible,” Diaz said in a brief interview. Diaz said the president’s attorneys “know a lot more than I do. They’re seeing evidence that I would not be privy to.”