As President Donald Trump continues to pursue legal avenues he hopes will overturn this month’s election results, some Texas Republicans are cautiously stepping away from a full-throated defense of Trump, while still leaving open the possibility that Trump’s legal challenges could result in a change to the outcome.
Dallas Morning News Washington bureau chief Todd Gillman told Texas Standard that Texas Sen. John Cornyn, who recently won reelection to the Senate seat he’s occupied since 2002, isn’t acknowledging a Biden victory. Cornyn says the presidential results are still “too close to call.”
Gillman says that along the spectrum of Republican opinion, Cornyn falls in the middle.
“Sen. Cornyn is straddling,” Gillman said. “He is saying, ‘Look, [Trump is] making these allegations of fraud and malfeasance in the election; he’s gonna have to put up or shut up.'”
Cornyn wants the various court challenges and recounts currently underway in swing states to play out before a winner is declared, Gillman said. Cornyn has also said he expects Biden will take the oath of office on Jan. 20.
Gillman says he’s confident that Sen. Ted Cruz would answer “no” if asked whether Joe Biden is president-elect. Cruz is widely believed to be planning a 2024 presidential run, and wants to appeal to the voters who currently support Trump.
“He is not saying that there is evidence of fraud, or that the election was stolen, but he’s insinuating that,” Gillman said.
Republicans don’t want to cross Trump, Gillman said, because they don’t know what the president might do in retaliation. He says Cornyn is better insulated than Cruz and others who who must face the voters soon, or who plan to run for higher office at some point.
“[Cruz] is trying to position himself as the Trumpiest of the post-Trump contenders,” Gillman said.