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In Illinois, U.S. Reps. John Shimkus, Adam Kinzinger and GOP House Leader Jim Durkin exceptions to Trump enablers

A few Republicans start to acknowledge reality: Joe Biden is the president-elect

President Donald Trump spoke to reporters Friday in the White House briefing room. It was his first news conference in over a week.
President Donald Trump spoke to reporters Friday in the White House briefing room. It was his first news conference in over a week.
Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

WASHINGTON — As President Donald Trump continues efforts to subvert the election and overturn Joe Biden’s win, a reality-based movement among a few Republicans locally and nationally is very slowly starting to emerge.

Three top Republicans in Illinois — Rep. John Shimkus, Rep. Adam Kinzinger and Illinois House Leader Jim Durkin — acknowledge Biden as the president-elect.

Add to this list state Rep. Grant Wehril, R-Naperville. No slight intended for those not mentioned.

Trump’s actions are way beyond asking for a recount or providing evidence of massive voting fraud.

He is personally trying — and already succeeding, to a degree — to erode trust in our elections, as he seeks to either somehow reverse the outcome through extraordinary schemes or portray Biden as an illegitimate president.

Many Republican enablers are going along with this corrosive election denial, potentially destructive to our democracy. Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani made a string of conspiracy-laden false claims at a bizarre press conference Thursday.

A recount is one thing. Contacting GOP swing-state election officials and elected leaders to swap out electors to the Electoral College or not certify results is another.

A few other Republicans also agree Biden is the president-elect, or will likely be when the legal process plays out, including U.S. senators Mitt Romney, Utah; Lisa Murkowski, Alaska; Marco Rubio, Florida and Pat Toomey, Pennsylvania.

Durkin, from Westchester, was a guest at Thursday’s “At the Virtual Table,” the Sun-Times political show I co-host with Sun-Times columnist Laura Washington. I asked about the election outcome.

“The election is over. Begin the transition process,” Durkin said, adding that “the people have spoken in this country. I hope that the president understands that there is no avenue for him to be able to overturn these results, and we are at a point in time in which there needs to be a cooling off period and a transition of power to the president-elect.”

I asked Durkin why it’s hard for other Republicans to come to this conclusion. He said he’s not speaking for others. “I’m a pragmatic Republican. And I believe that you know that there is winners and losers in every election. You may not like the outcome but the fact is, you’ve got to move on.”

Kinzinger said in a Nov. 7 Tweet: “Sofia and I extend our Congratulations to Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Our nation deserves two competing parties who can work together when possible, and compete honorably when not.”

Sofia, Kinzinger’s wife, has worked in the Trump administration.

Shimkus departs Congress in January, retiring as the senior Republican in the Illinois delegation.

In a Nov. 7 Facebook post, Shimkus wrote: “The peaceful transition of power is a signal to the world of the strength of democracy and the resilience of our Republic. Even though I supported his opponent, I wish President-elect Joe Biden well.

“I thank President Trump for his service to our country. While we had our differences, the tax cuts, roll back of onerous regulations, and pro-life polices he enacted are momentous achievements. Above all, his appointment of one-third of the Supreme Court and nearly one-third of the entire federal bench will be an enduring legacy,” said Shimkus.

Shimkus closes his post with a prayer.

Let us pray.

“Scripture reminds us the powers that be are ordained of God and commands us to pray for our nation’s leaders no matter who they are. With close margins in the House and Senate, both parties will have to work together as we continue to strive for a more perfect Union. I pray for success for the next Administration and Congress, and I hope you will as well.”