A senator from a key battleground state on Monday accused the White House of threatening democracy by attempting to strong-arm local officials into overturning legitimate election results — as other Republicans continued their long march toward recognizing that President Trump lost.
Senator Patrick J. Toomey, Republican of Pennsylvania, told CNBC that while he had backed the president and had supported his right to pursue legal challenges, “the idea that a sitting president would try to, I don’t know, pressure, cajole, persuade state legislators to dismiss the will of their voters” was “completely inconsistent with any kind of truly democratic society.”
In recent days, Mr. Trump has pressured Republicans in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Georgia to delay or reverse the certification of their results even as his legal challenges crumble.
On Saturday, after a federal judge dismissed a Trump campaign lawsuit challenging the Pennsylvania results, Mr. Toomey congratulated President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on their victory.
In a statement after the dismissal, Mr. Toomey said that the president had “exhausted all plausible legal options to challenge” the state’s results.
Most congressional Republicans have refused to acknowledge Mr. Biden’s victory. But over the past few days, a growing number of party leaders have pushed for a conventional and cooperative transition — as the Trump campaign has flopped in court, floated outlandish conspiracy theories and sought to strong-arm local officials into delaying or overturning results.
“It’s past time to start a transition, to at least cooperate with a transition,” Senator Kevin Cramer, Republican of North Dakota, said on Sunday, even as he insisted that Mr. Trump should have additional time to pursue legal challenges. “I’d rather have a president who has more than one day to prepare.”
As consequential were remarks by Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the No. 3 Republican in the House, who urged Mr. Trump to move quickly through his legal appeals so the country could move on.
“If the president cannot prove these claims or demonstrate that they would change the election result, he should fulfill his oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States by respecting the sanctity of our electoral process,” Ms. Cheney said in a statement.
The twin debacles of Mr. Trump’s failure in Pennsylvania — the conservative federal judge in the case called his lawsuit a haphazard “Frankenstein’s monster” that had no legal merit — and the erratic behavior of the president’s legal team, led by Rudolph W. Giuliani, compelled others to go even further.
Former Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, an on-again, off-again Trump adviser, called the president’s legal team a “national embarrassment” in an interview over the weekend, declaring that “elections have consequences.”
Gov. Larry Hogan, Republican of Maryland, a frequent Trump critic who governs one of the most liberal states in the country, was even less polite.
“It’s time for them to stop the nonsense,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday. “It just gets more bizarre every single day, and frankly I’m embarrassed that more people in the party aren’t speaking up.”