U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaks to reporters after the weekly Republican Senate conference meeting in the Mansfield Room at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, United States, on Dec. 1, 2020.
Tom Williams | Reuters
Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell explicitly recognized Joe Biden as president-elect for the first time on Tuesday after weeks of Republican delays in recognizing the 2020 election result.
The Kentucky Republican congratulated the new Democratic president after the electoral college officially confirmed Biden’s victory on Monday. Numerous GOP senators did not recognize Biden as an election winner for more than a month as President Donald Trump made unsubstantiated claims that widespread electoral fraud had cost him a second term in the White House.
“Our country officially has an elected president and an elected vice president,” McConnell said in the Senate on Tuesday.
“The electoral college has spoken. So today I want to congratulate President-elect Joe Biden and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris,” he said later.
McConnell congratulated Biden after reviewing a list of what he described as “almost endless” achievements during Trump’s tenure as president. He cited guidelines like the GOP Tax Act 2017 and “perhaps most importantly” the confirmation of three Conservative Supreme Court justices.
GOP senators like Susan Collins from Maine and Mitt Romney from Utah congratulated Biden shortly after it became clear that he would win the presidential election last month. Others like South Dakota Senator John Thune, the No. 2 Republican in the Chamber, publicly accepted the reality as the electoral college voted on Monday.
However, some, including GOP Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue of Georgia, have refused to accept Biden’s win. Both lawmakers will seek to keep their seats in the January 5 runoff to determine whether McConnell and the GOP will retain control of the Senate.
Trump has vowed never to admit Biden. He falsely claims he won the race and spreads a number of unproven, debunked and unfounded conspiracy theories when he argues that he was deprived of re-election through massive election and electoral fraud.
Trump reiterated his allegations of electoral fraud in his first tweet after McConnell acknowledged Biden’s victory, ignoring the Republican Senate leader’s remarks.
Even after the electoral college cast its votes to make Biden’s victory official, Trump reinforced his false claims on Twitter.
“There are enormous problems with voting machines,” he tweeted Tuesday morning and did not provide any evidence. “Can win a landslide victory and reduce it to a slim loss,” he falsely tweeted.
Attempts in Trump’s election campaign and his allies to undo Biden’s victory have failed in dozens of legal proceedings. The U.S. Supreme Court dealt a fatal blow to those efforts on Friday when it refused to hear a long-term offer from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to review the results of four major swing states that voted for Biden, void.
More than 100 House Republicans, including California minority leader Kevin McCarthy, backed the Texas lawsuit.
Trump had dubbed Paxton’s far-fetched case “the big one,” despite broad consensus among electoral law experts predicting its failure was inevitable.
But neither the devastating loss of the court nor the defeat of the electoral college seem to have mitigated the president’s remarks, the most dire of which were directed against GOP officials in Georgia. Biden narrowly won the state.
On Tuesday morning, Trump retweeted a post from attorney Lin Wood predicting that Georgia Republican Governor Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger “will soon go to jail.”
Trump’s promotion of Wood marks a potentially consequential clash with his party ahead of the two crucial runoff elections in Peach State.
Wood, who, along with attorney Sidney Powell, has filed numerous unsuccessful court offers for election fraud, is calling for a boycott of these runoff elections. Republican lawmakers pushed back violently, accusing Wood of being a Democratic agent trying to lower GOP turnout for Perdue and Loeffler.