Donald Trump has called out Republicans who plan to support certifying Joe Biden’s victory in the US election as members of a “surrender caucus”, deepening the intraparty split over the looming transfer of power in Washington.
The US President, in a series of tweets on Monday morning, pressured lawmakers from his own party to join his attempt to overturn the results of the November election, less than three weeks before Biden’s inauguration as president.
Trump, according to Financial Times, is facing a backlash from across the political spectrum over a call he made during the weekend to Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s secretary of state, urging him to “find” extra votes to reverse Mr Biden’s win in the southern state.
A joint session of Congress is expected on Wednesday to certify Biden’s electoral college victory.
Twelve Republican senators, led by Ted Cruz of Texas and Josh Hawley of Missouri, have said they will object to Biden’s win based on unfounded allegations of voter fraud, although many Republicans are expected to accept the election result — triggering Trump’s wrath.
“The ‘Surrender Caucus’ within the Republican party will go down in infamy as weak and ineffective ‘guardians’ of our Nation, who were willing to accept the certification of fraudulent presidential numbers!” Trump wrote.
Earlier in the day, Trump had singled out Tom Cotton — a reliable ally of the president on Capitol Hill — for criticism after the senator from Arkansas said he would not join other Republican objectors to Biden’s win.
“@SenTomCotton Republicans have pluses & minuses, but one thing is sure, THEY NEVER FORGET!”, the president wrote.
In a statement on Monday, Rob Portman, the Republican senator from Ohio, defied Trump’s wishes and said he would not object to Biden’s certification.
“The Constitution created a system for electing the President through the Electoral College that ensures the people and the states hold the power, not Congress. I cannot support allowing Congress to thwart the will of the voters,” he said.
Trump’s increasingly frantic efforts to avoid leaving the White House on January 20 have created a febrile atmosphere in Washington and stoked new fears over the prospects for a smooth transition on inauguration day.
They have also prompted warnings from business that some Republicans were threatening democracy by attempting to oppose certifying the presidential election results.
“Efforts by some members of Congress to disregard certified election results . . . undermines our democracy and the rule of law and will only result in further division,” said Tom Donohue, chief executive of the US Chamber of Commerce, the business lobby.
Almost 200 business leaders signed a separate statement from the Partnership for New York City, warning that attempts to thwart certification of the results “run counter to the essential tenets of our democracy” and would distract from responding to the country’s health and economic crises.
Democrats said they were disturbed by Mr Trump’s approach. At a rally ahead of two pivotal Senate run-off races in Georgia on Tuesday, Kamala Harris, the incoming vice-president, attacked Trump for his call to Raffensperger.
“It was certainly the voice of desperation, most certainly that. And it was a bald, bald-faced, bold abuse of power by the president of the United States,” she said on Sunday night.
Ted Lieu, a Democratic lawmaker from California, and Kathleen Rice, a Democratic lawmaker from New York, on Monday asked the FBI to open a criminal investigation into Trump’s call for “solicitation of, or conspiracy to commit, a number of election crimes”.
Nevertheless, Mr Trump’s most loyal backers on Capitol Hill have stuck by him. Marsha Blackburn, the Republican senator from Tennessee and one of the upper-chamber lawmakers intending to object to the certification of Biden’s victory, told Fox News on Monday that the president’s call to Raffensperger searching for votes was “not a helpful call”.
But she reaffirmed the plan to object to Biden’s victory and establish a commission to report back on fraud claims within 10 days.
“When there are allegations of fraud and when there’s all this conversation that is taking place around the election results, one of the things that we should do is define the problem and then offer an action item that will get us to a solution,” she said. “And that’s exactly what we are doing.”
No one in Aso Rock working against Tinubu – Lai Mohammed
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Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed says no official report of anybody in the presidential villa working against the aspiration of the presidential candidate of the All Progressive Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
He also said President Muhammadu Buhari would not deviate from his commitment towards ensuring the conduct of free, fair and credible general elections.
The minister disclosed this to State House correspondents after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Wednesday.
He was responding to a claim by Kaduna State governor, Nasir el-Rufai, that some persons in the Presidential Villa were working against the electoral success of the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, in the coming presidential election.
He said President Buhari, being the main occupant of the Aso Rock Villa, had stressed times without number that he wanted his administration to deliver a credible exercise.
The minister said that if there were elements within the seat of power working against the victory of the ruling party, it has not been brought officially to his notice.
He said, “One thing I can assure you is that no matter what, this administration is focused, determined to ensure free and fair elections.
“But I think with this administration, the most important person is Mr. President, and I think he has shown by words and by deeds that he is committed to free, fair and credible election. And fair, free, credible elections actually mean not favouring anybody or disadvantaging anybody.
“And everywhere he goes, he makes that very clear even as recently last Friday when he was in Daura, he said the same thing.
“If there’s anybody working against a candidate, we don’t know officially.”
He also responded to the Transparency International’s latest report, which saw Nigeria dropping five places in the 2021 Corruption Perception Index (CPI) ranking.
He said, “We are not fighting corruption because we want to impress Transparency International or any organization whatsoever.
“We’re fighting corruption because we believe if we do not fight corruption, there’ll be no growth either in terms of the economy or even political. Therefore, what we do and what we’re putting in place to fight corruption is not because we want to be rated by anybody.
“If, for instance, what we’re doing catches the attention of Transparency International and they improve and give us better marks, so we’ll and go. However, I can assure you that we do not know what template TI is using.
“Whatever template they’re using is clearly oblivious of what this administration is doing, to fight corruption.
“Corruption fighting is not just by how many people have you arrested? How many people have you tried? How many people have you convicted? Of course, even in that respect, we have a very impressive record. Is it the EFCC or is it the ICPC?
“You see, if you look at what we’re doing even to make corrupt practices, almost impossible or difficult…I’ll just give you two examples. For instance, this administration, when funds were returned from the Abacha loot and other funds were recovered from the US, the UK, and Europe, this administration was that rather than pay these funds into the treasury and face the possibility of it being stolen or looted, the administration decided that we will put this money into a separate account and ask the National Sovereign Investment Fund to manage these funds, and we used this money for specific projects.
“And some of our legacy projects today actually are being financed from our money that have been stolen, which were returned and which we have kept. To me, this is one example of how to fight corruption. An example of how to ensure that people do not steal what has been recovered again.
Aisha Buhari backs El-Rufai on claim Aso Rock working against Tinubu
Wife of the President, Aisha Buhari, has supported claims by the Kaduna State governor, Nasir El-Rufai, that some “elements” in Aso Rock are working against the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu.
The governor made the accusation on Wednesday while speaking on Channels TV’s breakfast show, ‘Sunrise Daily’.
The First Lady shared the video of the Kaduna governor’s interview on her verified Instagram page with the caption ‘Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria’.
This is seen by many as an endorsement of the governor’s position.
The Kaduna governor also cited the sudden removal of petrol subsidy and the naira redesign policy as measures targeted at the APC presidential candidate.
Tinubu has also made a similar allegation.
El-Rufai had said, “I believe there are elements in the Villa that want us to lose the election because they didn’t get their way; they had their candidate. Their candidate did not win the primaries.
“They are trying to get us to lose the election, and they are hiding behind the President’s desire to do what he thinks is right. I will give two examples: this petroleum subsidy, which is costing the country trillions of Naira, was something that we all agreed would be removed.
“In fact, I discussed with the President and showed him why it had to go. Because how can you have a capital budget of N200 billion for federal roads and then spend N2 trillion on petroleum subsidy? This was a conversation I had with the President in 2021 when the subsidy thing started rising. He was convinced. We left. It changed. Everyone in the government agreed, and it changed.
“The second example I will give is this currency redesign. You have to understand the President. People are blaming the Governor of the Central Bank for the currency redesign, but No. You have to go back and look at the first outing of Buhari as President.
“He did this; the Buhari, Idiagbon regime changed our currency and did it in secrecy with a view to catching those that are stashing away illicit funds. It is a very good intention. The President has his right. But doing it at this time within the allotted time does not make any political or economic sense.”
2023: Wike denies Atiku use of Adokiye Ameisimaka Stadium for rally
Rivers State governor, Nyesome Wike, has denied the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar the use of Adokiye Ameisimaka Stadium for the presidential rally slated for February 11.
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In a letter seen by Newsbreak Break, Wike, through the Commissioner, Ministry of Sports, Barrister Christopher Green, said the reason for the denial is that the PDP Presidential Campaign Council is working with some faction of the APC in the state.
According to the letter, APC in Rivers led by Tonye Patrick Cole has plans to stadium with PDP.
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