Six weeks after the U.S. presidential election, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell acknowledged Tuesday that Democrat Joe Biden is the country’s president-elect.
McConnell congratulated Biden as President Donald Trump continued his unfounded claims that voter fraud cheated him out of re-election.
McConnell, who had refrained from declaring Biden the winner, said in a Senate speech that Biden’s 306-232 victory Monday in the Electoral College made his claim to a four-year term in the White House a reality.
“As of this morning, our country has officially a president-elect and a vice president-elect,” McConnell said. “Many millions of us had hoped the presidential election would yield a different result. But our system of government has processes to determine who will be sworn in on January 20. The Electoral College has spoken.”
“So today, I want to congratulate President-elect Joe Biden,” McConnell said. “The president-elect is no stranger to the Senate. He’s devoted himself to public service for many years. I also want to congratulate the vice president-elect, our colleague from California, Sen. [Kamala] Harris. All Americans can take pride that our nation has a female vice president-elect for the very first time.”
Trump did not immediately respond to McConnell’s acknowledgment that Biden would become the country’s 46th president.
Instead, he said on Twitter, “Tremendous evidence pouring in on voter fraud. There has never been anything like this in our Country!”
Twitter tagged Trump’s tweet, saying, “This claim about election fraud is disputed.”
Trump has lost more than 50 lawsuits claiming vote and vote-counting irregularities and has refused to concede his defeat to Biden.FILE – President-elect Joe Biden speaks after the Electoral College formally confirmed his election win, at The Queen theater in Wilmington, Delaware, Dec. 14, 2020.The Senate and House of Representatives are set to review and certify the Electoral College outcome on January 6. Trump is holding out one last hope of retaining the presidency, expressing Twitter support for a protest led by Alabama Congressman Mo Brooks contesting Biden’s victories in five states.
But Brooks needs a senator to join his protest and so far, no senator has agreed to sign on to his claim that Trump was victorious.
Since the November 3 national election, only a small group of Republican lawmakers has acknowledged Biden’s victory. Many Republicans have either stayed mum or voiced support for Trump’s long-shot efforts to upend Biden’s win.
But after the Electoral College outcome, several more key Republicans in Washington said Monday that Biden had won the presidency, making Trump the fifth U.S. president in the country’s 244-year history to lose a bid for re-election after a single term in office.
In the U.S.’s indirect form of democracy, the Electoral College, with electors from throughout the country, determines the outcome of presidential elections, not the national popular vote, although Biden won it too, by more than 7 million votes over Trump.
In 48 of the 50 states, electors pledged to either Biden or Trump cast all their votes in the Electoral College based on the popular vote outcome in their individual states, while the vote in two small states, Maine and Nebraska, was split by congressional districts and their statewide outcomes.
Biden addressed the Electoral College verdict in a nationwide address Monday night, saying, “If anyone didn’t know it before, we know it now. What beats deep in the hearts of the American people is this: Democracy.”
But Biden also attacked Trump’s post-election quest to delegitimize the process, saying
“not even an abuse of power” and an “unprecedented assault on our democracy” could derail a peaceful political transition in American leadership.