MONTPELIER — While a number of Republicans have thrown their support behind a last-ditch lawsuit seeking to reverse the results of the presidential elections in four states carried by President-elect Joe Biden, Vermont Gov. Phil Scott isn't one of them.
Scott called the lawsuit, filed by the Texas attorney general and supported by President Donald Trump, 17 other Republican state attorneys general and more than 100 Republican members of Congress, "bizarre" and "a bit pathetic." He said the lawsuit, and the continuing efforts to cast doubt on the election, is taking focus away from the nation's common enemy: a virus on track to kill more than 300,000 Americans by the end of the year.
"I think it's bizarre in a lot of respects. We need to move on," Scott said.
"For this lawsuit come about ... it's unnecessary and a bit pathetic in some respects," he added.
Scott was asked about the lawsuit Friday during the administration's twice-weekly COVID-19 briefing.
The suit, which was rejected by the Supreme Court late Friday, sought to overturn the results in Michigan, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, claiming that those states' use of voting by mail "usurped their legislatures’ authority and unconstitutionally revised their state’s election statutes." It also repeats a number of accusations of widespread fraud and abuse, virtually none of which have been supported by evidence and have been rejected repeatedly by federal judges.
GOP officials in some states are clashing over support of the lawsuit, including Texas and Utah, where the outgoing and incoming governor both publicly blasted the attorney general for joining the suit. But there's no such disagreement across party lines in Vermont. Scott's criticism of the suit echoes that of Democratic Attorney General T. J. Donovan, who on Thursday joined 22 other AGs in an amicus brief opposing the Texas suit.
“This frivolous lawsuit only erodes public confidence in our electoral system," Donovan said. “I’m proud to oppose it.”
Scott noted that Republican governors have certified the election results and found no basis to entertain still-unproven accusations of widespread fraud.
"We need to do what's right," Scott said. "We don't need to harm the institution any more than it's been harmed."
"The common enemy here is the [COVID-19] virus," Scott said. "it seems to me some others are trying to take the focus away from that. We need to be focused on this.
"When you have 3,000 deaths a day, and we're getting to the point we're going to exceed the 300,000 [deaths] mark ... this is disturbing, that we take our focus way from what really is the problem here," he said. "I'm hoping the Supreme Court will act in an appropriate way — l'm sure they will — and we will be done with it and move on."
Scott has made no secret of his distaste for Trump and his politics over Trump's four years in office, and voted for Biden on Election Day, saying the former vice president was the first Democrat he'd ever supported in a presidential election.
Asked if he was among Republicans concerned about reprisals from Trump, as many Republicans supporting the lawsuit are said to be, he said, "It doesn't include me. Nor does it include many Republican governors throughout the country."