GOP Leader McConnell Congratulates Biden as President-Elect

December 15, 2020by Lisa Mascaro, AP Congressional Correspondent
GOP Leader McConnell Congratulates Biden as President-Elect

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell congratulated Democrat Joe Biden as president-elect on Tuesday, saying the Electoral College “has spoken.”

The Republican leader’s statement, delivered in a speech on the Senate floor, ends weeks of silence over President Donald Trump’s defeat. It came a day after electors met and officially affirmed Biden’s election win.

“I want to congratulate President-elect Joe Biden,” McConnell said.

“Many of us had hoped the presidential election would yield a different result,” he said. “But our system of government has the processes to determine who will be sworn in on Jan. 20. The Electoral College has spoken.”

McConnell called Biden someone “who has devoted himself to public service for many years.” He also congratulated Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, saying “all Americans can take pride that our nation has a female vice president-elect for the very first time.”

McConnell prefaced his remarks with sweeping praise for what he characterized as Trump’s “endless” accomplishments during four years in office. He said Trump and Vice President Mike Pence “deserve our thanks.”

The Senate leader cited Trump’s nomination and ensuing Senate confirmation of three Supreme Court justices, among other accomplishments.

McConnell’s remarks follow a groundswell of leading Republicans who said Monday for the first time that Biden is the winner of the presidential election, essentially abandoning President Donald Trump’s assault on the outcome after the Electoral College certified the vote.

For his part, Trump continued to push his baseless claims of “voter fraud” in a new tweet on Tuesday.

With states affirming the results, the Republicans faced a pivotal choice — to declare Biden the president-elect, as the tally showed, or keep standing silently by as Trump waged a potentially damaging campaign to overturn the election.

“At some point you have to face the music,” said Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, the NO. 2 GOP leader. “Once the Electoral College settles the issue today, it’s time for everybody to move on.”

Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri, the chairman of the inaugural committee, said the panel will now “deal with Vice President Biden as the president-elect.”

Just last week, the Republicans on the inauguration committee had declined to publicly do so. He said Monday’s Electoral College vote “was significant.”

The turnaround comes nearly six weeks after Election Day. Many Republicans rode out the time in silence, enabling Trump to wage an unprecedented challenge to the nation’s cherished system of voting.

Some GOP lawmakers have vowed to carry the fight to Jan. 6 when Congress votes to accept or reject the Electoral College results. Others have said Trump’s legal battles should continue toward resolution by inauguration day, Jan. 20.

“It’s a very, very narrow path for the president,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a top Trump ally. “But having said that, I think we’ll let those legal challenges play out.”

Historians and election officials have warned that Trump’s unfounded claims of voter fraud threaten to erode Americans’ faith in the election system, and that lawmakers have a responsibility under the oath of office to defend the Constitution.

“The campaign to overturn the outcome is a dangerous thing,” said Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public policy at Princeton.

“This is a Republican operation, not a presidential operation,” Zelizer said. “Without their silence, he couldn’t do what he is doing.”

Trump is trying to throw out the ballots of thousands of Americans, particularly those who voted by mail, in dozens of lawsuits that have mostly failed. His legal team is claiming irregularities, even though Attorney General William Barr, who abruptly resigned Monday, has said there is no evidence of widespread fraud that would alter the election results. State election officials, including Republicans, have said the election was fair and valid.

In a decisive blow to Trump’s legal efforts, the Supreme Court last week declined to take up two of his cases challenging the election process in key states. Some 120 House Republicans signed on to that failed Texas lawsuit asking the Supreme Court to take up the case seeking to throw out election results in the swing-states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Georgia.

GOP Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who volunteered to argue the case before the Supreme Court, was holding a telephone town hall Monday urging “participation in the fight to defend the integrity” of the election.

One House Republican, Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama, has vowed to challenge the Electoral College results on Jan. 6, when Congress convenes a joint session to receive the outcome.

At that time, any challenge in Congress would need to be raised by at least one member of the House and Senate. It’s unclear if any GOP senator will join in making the case. It appears highly unlikely there is enough congressional support to overturn the election.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said Monday that it’s as if Biden has to win “again and again and again” before Republicans will accept it.

Rep. Alex Mooney, R-W.Va., introduced a resolution in Congress last week suggesting no one be declared president-elect until all investigations are completed. He proposed it after constituents confronted him last month demanding he do more to support Trump.

Overhanging their calculations is the Georgia runoff elections Jan. 5 that will decide control of the Senate. Incumbent GOP senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler need Trump’s support to defend their seats against Democratic challengers Jon Ossoff and Rafael Warnock.

A+
a-
  • 2020 Election
  • Donald Trump
  • Electoral College
  • Joe Biden
  • Mitch McConnell
  • In The News

    Health

    Voting

    Political News

    April 19, 2024
    by Tom Ramstack
    With Trump Jury Selection Completed, Attorneys Prepare for Trial Next Week

    NEW YORK — The full contingent of jurors and alternates needed for the hush money criminal trial of former President... Read More

    NEW YORK — The full contingent of jurors and alternates needed for the hush money criminal trial of former President Donald Trump was reached Friday in a New York courtroom. The jury selection procedure ended around 1:30 p.m., about the same time a protester set himself... Read More

    April 19, 2024
    by Dan McCue
    House Advances International Aid Bills, Setting Up Final Vote on Saturday

    WASHINGTON — The House handily advanced legislation on Friday that would send military and other aid to Ukraine, Israel, Gaza... Read More

    WASHINGTON — The House handily advanced legislation on Friday that would send military and other aid to Ukraine, Israel, Gaza and the Indo-Pacific, despite rumblings among some Republicans that such a move would spell curtains for Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La. The 316-94 vote on the foreign... Read More

    April 18, 2024
    by Tom Ramstack
    Jury Selected for Trump’s Trial Over Hush Money to Adult Film Star

    NEW YORK — Jury selection at former President Donald Trump’s hush money trial in a New York court ended Thursday... Read More

    NEW YORK — Jury selection at former President Donald Trump’s hush money trial in a New York court ended Thursday with only a few alternates needed to pass judgment on the first former president to face criminal proceedings. By the end of the day, the full... Read More

    April 18, 2024
    by Dan McCue
    Kennedy Family Members to Endorse Biden for President

    PHILADELPHIA — More than a dozen members of the Kennedy family are expected to endorse President Joe Biden at a... Read More

    PHILADELPHIA — More than a dozen members of the Kennedy family are expected to endorse President Joe Biden at a campaign rally in Philadelphia on Thursday, once again highlighting the rift between themselves and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., whose independent campaign for the White House they’ve... Read More

    April 18, 2024
    by Dan McCue
    Treasury Department Imposes New Sanctions on Iran

    WASHINGTON — The U.S. Treasury Department imposed new sanctions on Iran on Thursday in response to its unprecedented drone and... Read More

    WASHINGTON — The U.S. Treasury Department imposed new sanctions on Iran on Thursday in response to its unprecedented drone and missile attack on Israel this past weekend. The sanctions, which were imposed in coordination with the United Kingdom, target Iran’s drone, auto and steel industries. The... Read More

    April 16, 2024
    by Dan McCue
    House Republicans Force Senate Trial for Mayorkas

    WASHINGTON — House impeachment managers on Tuesday walked two articles of impeachment against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas across the... Read More

    WASHINGTON — House impeachment managers on Tuesday walked two articles of impeachment against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas across the Capitol to the Senate, forcing a trial on charges the secretary “willfully” refused to enforce immigration laws. Moments later, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., announced... Read More

    News From The Well
    scroll top