U.S. Sen. Susan Collins said Friday that it was “wrong” for President Donald Trump to pressure state election officials over the results of the 2020 election, saying unsupported allegations of irregularities undermined public trust in the results.
The president has continued to deny his loss to President-elect Joe Biden while repeating claims of election fraud that his lawyers have been unable to prove in court. While legal challenges have failed, the president and allies have continued to allege fraud while floating the idea of encouraging Republican legislators in states won by Biden to appoint electors who would support Trump. The national Republican Party has amplified Trump’s claims.
The president has also directed his efforts at election officials this week, heavily criticizing Georgia’s Republican secretary of state after Biden narrowly won the state. On Friday, he met with lawmakers from Michigan after urging Republican canvassers in the Detroit area to delay certifying election results earlier this week. Those officials could not take back votes, however.
In a statement on Friday afternoon, Collins said there was “a right way and a wrong way” for the president to contest perceived election irregularities.
“The right way is to compile the evidence and mount legal challenges in our courts. The wrong way is to attempt to pressure state election officials,” Collins said. “That undermines the public’s faith in our election results without evidence and court rulings to support the allegations.”
The Republicans senator added that states should certify their election results as scheduled and reiterated that Biden should receive access to intelligence briefings and other government resources.
Collins, who congratulated Biden on winning the election a few days after major media outlets called it, previously said that she thought the Democratic president-elect should receive briefings, which the Trump administration has blocked so far. Few Senate Republicans have joined her on either of those counts, though Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, released a more strongly worded statement on Thursday night calling Trump’s actions “undemocratic.”