Peggy Noonan: ‘Bogus dispute’ by Trump ‘doing real damage’
Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan on Thursday argued that President Trump’s continued claim without evidence of widespread voter fraud as part of his efforts to delay election certification amounts to a “bogus dispute” that is “doing real damage” to American democracy.
“More than two weeks after the election, it’s clear where this is going,” the Pulitzer Prize-winning commentator and former speechwriter for President Reagan wrote in a piece published Thursday. “The winner will be certified and acknowledged; Joe Biden will be inaugurated. But it’s right to worry about the damage being done on the journey.”
“It’s one thing when supporters of the president say, simply, ‘Let’s go through the process and see where we are,’” she continued. “But the sheer nuttiness surrounding the current mess is becoming deeply destructive.”
In recent days, Trump and his team have ramped up their campaign to persuade Republican officials to reverse election results in key battleground states.
While all major news outlets called the election for Biden nearly two weeks ago, Trump and his allies have launched a multistate legal battle and a public opinion crusade alleging widespread voter fraud and voting irregularities.
The claims have since been disputed by election experts and local election officials, and several lawsuits have been dropped or thrown out in states like Arizona, Georgia and Nevada where Biden received more votes than Trump.
“Trump staff and supporters should know at this point that in trying to change the outcome they are doing harm—undercutting respect in and hope for democracy,” Noonan added Thursday. “Republican senators and representatives, in their silence, are allowing the idea to take hold that the whole system is rigged. This lessens faith in institutions and in their party’s reputation.”
She then called on “responsible Republican leaders” to “congeal and address the fact that what rough faith and trust we have in the system is being damaged. Which means our ability to proceed as a healthy democracy is being damaged.”
“There is no realistic route to victory for the president, only to confusion and chaos and undermining,” the NBC News and ABC News contributor added. “He is not going to find the votes in recounts to win the election.”
While several top GOP members have either remained silent or have come to Trump’s defense in perpetuating claims of an unfair election, the president has received increased bipartisan criticism in recent days, especially after a Thursday press conference held by Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.
Giuliani, without providing tangible evidence, claimed Thursday that “Joe Biden is in the lead because of the fraudulent ballots, the illegal ballots that were produced and that were allowed to be used after the election was over.”
Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) warned that the “wild press conferences erode public trust,” and Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) condemned claims from Sidney Powell, a lawyer associated with the Trump campaign, who said that down-ballot candidates could have “paid to have the system rigged to work for them,” with the GOP senator calling Powell’s statement “offensive” and “absolutely outrageous.”
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) has also condemned the Trump team’s efforts, tweeting Thursday that “it is difficult to imagine a worse, more undemocratic action by a sitting American president.”
The Hill has removed its comment section, as there are many other forums for readers to participate in the conversation. We invite you to join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.