Al Gore has accused Republicans of being too “frightened” to admit the reality that Joe Biden has won the election, saying they are living in fear that Donald Trump will “tweet them in to political oblivion”.
The Democrat elder statesman, who in 2000 came within a whisker of beating George W. Bush to the White House, said that he had been dismayed by how many Republicans were going along with Mr Trump’s insistence that he has won the election.
On Saturday Mr Trump told Fox News that the election was “not over”, and said he would continue to fight in the court, where 86 judges so far have rejected his cases.
Mr Gore, 72, said he hopes that Monday’s gathering of the electoral college members, to cast their states’ votes, will give Republicans a palatable way to accept the election result.
“That will be a point at which some of those who have hung on will give up the ghost,” Mr Gore told CNN on Sunday.
“It’s hard to escape the interpretation that they are frightened that President Trump will tweet them in to political oblivion if they do not do exactly what he says.”
Mr Gore urged the Republicans to put the country, and its democratic system, above themselves.
“You know, there are things more important than bowing to the fear of a demagogue,” he said.
“And one of those things that is more important is the United States of America, and our constitution, and the continuation of the American experiment.”
Mr Gore was speaking on the 20th anniversary of his concession to Mr Bush, following a recount in Florida which gripped the world.
The Supreme Court stepped in to halt the recount, which handed the election to Mr Bush.
Mr Gore said he did not regret conceding, acknowledging it was in the best interests of the country.
His behaviour has been held in contrast to that of the president, who is convinced that he has won, despite being able to provide no evidence of fraud.
His legal team, led by Rudy Giuliani, have failed to convince judges and have been forced in court to admit that they were not even arguing electoral fraud.
Mr Trump insists that it is because none of the country’s judges have the “courage” to agree with him that the election was “stolen”.
Mr Giuliani and his team, thwarted by the courts, have in recent weeks been holding a series of “hearings”, where witnesses are called but there is no cross-examination of their claims. The sessions have served to rile up Mr Trump’s supporters and convince them that democracy does not exist in the United States, but they have not served to overturn the election.