On Sunday, President Donald Trump questioned whether the Supreme Court would ever hear a case that pointed to his unproven allegations of widespread electoral fraud because senior US Republicans said a transition to a Joe Biden presidency looked inevitable.
Trump’s comments in a telephone interview with Fox News Channel suggested a growing departure from the results of the November 3 election that handed over the White House to its Democratic opponent Biden, and it came when the Republican president’s team received another blow.
The recount of votes in Wisconsin’s two largest counties ended on Sunday, confirming that Biden won the hotly contested state by more than 20,000 votes.
Republican Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri, chairman of the inaugural congressional committee, said the group of senior lawmakers expects Biden to be sworn in as president on January 20.
“We are working with the Biden administration, the probable administration for both the transition and the inauguration, as if we are moving forward,” Blunt told CNN’s “State of the Union,” although he stopped acknowledging Trump lost.
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson is one of the few Republicans to refer to Biden as the president-elect.
“The transition is what matters. President Trump’s words are not quite as significant,” Hutchinson told Fox News Sunday.
Trump used his interview on Fox News Channel’s “Sunday Morning Futures” to repeat the accusations he has made without evidence of widespread electoral fraud. His campaign and legal team have lost dozens of trials by failing to convince judges of election irregularities in states such as Michigan, Georgia, Arizona and Nevada, all critical of Biden’s victory.
Trump was not clear on what legal steps he would take next. “The problem is that it’s hard to get it to the Supreme Court,” Trump said without clarifying whether he thought the court would refrain from hearing the appeal or if his campaign might not even do so.
Trump’s legal team has offered conflicting statements about their likely course following a defeat in a federal appeals court on Friday in a case they fought to challenge Biden’s victory in Pennsylvania.
“On SCOTUS!” Trump campaign lawyer Jenna Ellis wrote on Twitter after the decision and proposed a plan to appeal to the US Supreme Court.
Later, however, Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani reportedly told the One America News Network that the legal team is still weighing which case may be appropriate to take to the Supreme Court.
The US Supreme Court has always been unlikely to tip the election in Trump’s favor, and the president seems to finally acknowledge that reality, said Jessica Levinson, a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.
Trump’s challenge to the results in Pennsylvania, which was rejected by the Board of Appeal on Friday, is a particularly poor means of getting to the Supreme Court, as it is at its core a procedural issue of whether Trump’s campaign should have been allowed to expand the case, Levinson said.
“There is nothing for the Supreme Court to decide,” Levinson said.
Trump said he will continue to fight the election result, saying “my mind will not change in six months.”
His comments seemed to signal his intention to continue to challenge the outcome even after he left office. Aides say he has discussed several media projects, including starting a TV channel or social media company to keep him in the spotlight ahead of a potential 2024 White House bid.
Biden won the presidential election with 306 votes – much more than the 270 required – to Trump’s 232. Biden also leads Trump by more than 6 million in the popular vote.