Former Republican National Committee chair Michael Steele said Wednesday that it was time for the nation to move on and heal from Donald Trump, even as the president launches a fight against the still-uncertain results of the election.
In an appearance on MSNBC, Steele was asked by host Nicolle Wallace about reports that Trump’s advisers are worried a defeat would lead to a further “sour grape-like performance.”
Amid diminishing margins in his race against Democrat Joe Biden, Trump has railed against the electoral system, attacked democratic processes, initiated legal challenges in several battleground states and declared himself the winner despite projections that so far appear to suggest a very narrow contest.
“It rings very true to me, and confirms what I heard from probably some of the same people,” said Steele, a frequent critic of the president.
“I think, as a nation and certainly for a president-elect, Joe Biden, when that moment comes, you plan accordingly. If he doesn’t want to come to the inauguration, it will be a blemish not on the United States but on him. If he doesn’t want to cooperate on the transition, it will not be a blemish on the United States but him.”
In the lead-up to Election Day, Trump refused on multiple occasions to commit to a peaceful transfer of power should he lose.
“We need to stop carrying Donald Trump’s baggage, as a country. We need to stop it,” he added. “We need to now begin to free ourselves of this sickness and begin to heal ourselves and take the risk with someone like Joe Biden, who is prepared to move us in a different direction, and if Donald Trump wants to be that stubborn little brat standing in the middle of the mall stamping his feet refusing to move, OK.”
Steele, who was chair of the RNC from 2009 to 2011, became a member of the anti-Trump Republican group The Lincoln Project in August and endorsed Biden for president last month. He said he was crossing party lines with the belief a Biden administration would heal the divide exacerbated by Trump and his administration.
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