As President Trump’s claims of election cheating fall apart in court filings, he is taking his followers down a path of increasingly unhinged conspiracies about millions of votes being altered by mysterious forces manipulating computer systems and voting machines.
“That really is, really, I think, the Island of the Misfit Toys at that point. You have crossed the Rubicon, you jumped on the crazy train and you’re headed into the cliffs that guard the flat earth at that time, brother,” said Rep. Denver Riggleman, a Republican congressman from Virginia, in an interview.
Riggleman has been one of the few Republican members of Congress telling the truth about the 2020 election. He also, not coincidentally, will be out of office himself on Jan. 1, at the end of h
“We have a new president-elect,” said Riggleman, who was elected two years ago to represent Virginia’s Fifth Congressional District, which stretches from the distant exurbs of Washington, D.C., south through parts of Charlottesville and beyond.
Riggleman angered Virginia Republicans by officiating at a wedding between two men a year ago and was defeated in the Republican primary last summer by Bob Good, who describes himself as a “biblical conservative.”
Riggleman said those who deny that Democrat Joe Biden will be the next president are part of an overall descent into “the dissolution of reason.”
And Republican politicians in Washington have to stop avoiding reality and show some leadership, he said. “You have to have people brave enough, where the election is not more important than the integrity of the state.”
That bravery has been in short supply inside the Republican Party since the election was called for Biden on Saturday, Nov. 7. Only a handful of Republican senators have recognized Biden as president-elect: Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has not acknowledged Biden’s victory, and Riggleman echoed what Republicans on Capitol Hill have said privately: that McConnell wants to keep Republican voters in Georgia motivated to turn out for the two Senate runoff elections scheduled for Jan. 5, which could decide control of the Senate. Breaking with Trump could dishearten rank-and-file Republicans.
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