Establishment Republicans distance themselves from ailing Trump

President's fraud allegations dismissed as baseless by prominent members of his own party

U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton answers a question from a reporter about how he refers to Palestine during a news conference in the White House briefing room in Washington, U.S., October 3, 2018.    REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
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Establishment Republicans on Friday appeared to be distancing themselves from United States President Donald Trump, who has railed against widespread voting fraud in an election he seems all but certain to lose.
Prominent figures such as John Bolton, the president's former National Security Advisor, and Republican lawmakers from as far afield as Texas and Illinois have bashed Mr Trump for not accepting the still-unfolding results of the November 3 election.

Mr Trump is trailing behind his Democratic challenger Joe Biden in Pennsylvania, Nevada, Georgia and Arizona, making it unlikely he can amass the 270 electoral college votes he needs to keep his job.

John Bolton, who served as Mr Trump's National Security Advisor until he left the administration acrimoniously, hit out at his former boss on Twitter and compared him unfavourably to Abraham Lincoln.

Chris Christie, former governor of New Jersey, spoke out on Friday against Mr Trump's allegations of fraud.

"I don't think it's the right thing for a president to be doing," he said during an interview with ABC News.

"If you have evidence of fraud, enough for you to say 'there is fraud', enough for you to say last night 'the election is being stolen from me', then you have an obligation at the very same time to present the evidence to the American people."

Adam Kinzinger, a Republican congressman from Illinois, rejected Mr Trump’s call for a halt to vote-counting in some battleground states and urged the president to back up his voter-fraud claims with evidence.

Will Hurd, a Republican congressman from Texas, also appeared to be turning on the president.

"I am not aware of any significant level of fraud that's going on. Nobody has brought anything to my attention that causes me to say 'there's a huge case of fraud that needs to be immediately addressed',” said Senator Pat Toomey.

Mitt Romney, the senator from Utah who has diverted from the president's positions in the past, said: "Counting every vote is at the heart of democracy. That process is often long and, for those running, frustrating. The votes will be counted."

Still, other Republican heavyweights such as House minority leader Kevin McCarthy and Lindsey Graham, a senator from South Carolina, have continued to back the president and repeat his unfounded allegations of voting fraud.