WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump faces a stark choice now that Democrat Joe Biden has won the White House: Concede for the sake of the nation or don't — and be evicted anyway.
After nearly four days of counting yielded a victory for Biden, Trump was still insisting the race was not over. He threw out allegations the election wasn't fair and "illegal" votes were counted and promised legal action.
While some in his circle were nudging Trump to concede graciously, many of his Republican allies, including on Capitol Hill, were egging him on or giving him space to process his loss — at least for the time being.
"Trump has not lost," South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said in an appearance on Fox News Channel's "Sunday Morning Futures."
"Do not concede, Mr. President. Fight hard," he urged.
Trump's efforts to paint the election as unfair are seen as an effort to show his loyal base of supporters that he is still fighting. That could be key to keeping them energized for what comes next.
"He intends to fight," Trump economic adviser Larry Kudlow said.
Trump's adult sons, Donald Jr. and Eric, have urged their father to keep fighting and challenged Republicans to stand with them, as have congressional allies like Graham.
"What I would tell President Trump is: Don't give up. My advice is do not concede," Republican Rep. Andy Biggs, of Arizona, said in a podcast interview. "Let's fight this thing through. It is too important to give up."
Some in the president's orbit have been looking toward Capitol Hill for signs of a Republican defection. However, so far, most seemed to be giving him time.
"I look forward to the president dealing with this however he needs to deal with it," Sen. Roy Blunt, of Missouri, said Sunday on ABC's "This Week." Still, he said it was time for Trump "to turn this discussion over to his lawyers, time for the lawyers to make the case that they have, both in court and to the American people, and then we're going to have to deal with those facts as they're presented. That has to happen and then we move forward."
"At this point, we do not know who has prevailed in the election," said Sen. Ted Cruz, of Texas, telling Fox News he believes Trump "still has a path to victory."
Other political allies and White House officials, however, have pressed Trump to change his tone and commit to a smooth transition. They've emphasized to him that history will be a harsh judge of any action he takes that is seen as undermining his successor. And they have advised him to deliver a speech in the coming week pledging to support the transition.