But other Republican governors were much less supportive. Utah’s lieutenant governor, and now governor-elect, Spencer Cox, said “there is nothing nefarious about it taking a few days to count all legitimate votes.” Gov. Phil Scott of Vermont, who voted for Mr. Biden, called Mr. Trump’s Thursday comments “absolutely shameful.”
“Republicans are facing a character test,” Mr. Bolton wrote on Twitter. “All candidates are entitled to pursue appropriate election-law remedies if they have evidence supporting their claims. They should certainly not lie. The first Republican president was called ‘Honest Abe’ for a reason.”
The statements on Friday followed a wave of Republican reaction on Thursday night, including some defenses of Mr. Trump.
“I don’t trust Philadelphia,” the newly re-elected Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said, also on Fox News, referring to the city where voters overwhelmingly chose Mr. Biden, helping eliminate Mr. Trump’s early lead. “I’m here tonight to stand with President Trump,” he said, echoing Mr. Trump’s claim that “mainstream” pollsters had inflated Democratic numbers to “suppress Republican votes.”
But many more senior Republicans were at least indirectly critical of Mr. Trump, even after Mr. Trump’s son and former campaign manager publicly complained that more Republicans were not stepping forward to defend the embattled president.
“Counting every vote is at the heart of democracy,” Mr. Romney wrote the night before his more forceful statement on Friday.
“There is no defense for the President’s comments tonight undermining our Democratic process,” tweeted Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland, a Republican and frequent Trump critic. “No election or person is more important than our Democracy.”
Several Republicans noted the absence of any specific evidence of substantive wrongdoing.
“If a candidate believes a state is violating election laws they have a right to challenge it in court & produce evidence in support of their claims,” tweeted Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, who reposted a message from Wednesday in which he said, “Taking days to count legally cast votes is NOT fraud. And court challenges to votes cast after the legal voting deadline is NOT suppression.”
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