The most forceful Republican statement came from Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, who told Fox News on Wednesday: “We count the votes. We believe in the rule of law. I am for Trump, but if it ends up being Biden, all of us will accept that. … Every vote has to be counted. We as a country accept election results. We believe in counting all the votes.”

Sen. Roy Blunt echoed this point, writing, “We have set all-time records for voter participation. Every vote that was legally cast needs to be counted. America will once again serve as an example to the world.”

But the other messages were more vague. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stepped out gingerly, having secured his seventh term in the upper chamber the night before, and said, “Claiming you have won the election is different from finishing the counting,” adding that it may take a while to complete that process.

Sen. Rob Portman put out a statement that politely explained the rules: “Under our Constitution, state legislatures set the rules and states administer our elections. We should respect that process and ensure that all ballots cast in accordance with state laws are counted. It’s that simple. I hope we can reach a final resolution as quickly as possible.”