Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has at last acknowledged that President-elect Joe Biden won the 2020 election.
The Kentucky Republican waited until after Monday’s meetings of the Electoral College. His recognition of Biden’s victory came despite President Donald Trump and his campaign still making false claims about widespread fraud.
“Yesterday, electors met in all 50 states. So, as of this morning, our country officially has a President-elect and a Vice President-elect. 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 the 20th,” McConnell said on the Senate floor. “The Electoral College has spoken.”
The dam had begun to break on Monday, with Republican senators, including Roy Blunt of Missouri, Rob Portman of Ohio and John Thune of South Dakota noting that Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris — still a senator from California —prevailed in the Electoral College.
“The president-elect is no stranger to the Senate. He has devoted himself to public service for many years,” McConnell said. “I also congratulate the vice president-elect, our colleague from California, Senator Harris. Beyond our differences, all Americans can take pride that our nation has a female vice president-elect for the first time.”
Biden served for 36 years as a senator from Delaware before resigning to become vice president.
McConnell’s remarks on the floor, his first public declaration of a Biden victory, followed a prayer for the president-elect and vice president-elect from Senate Chaplain Barry Black.
“Lord, we respect the conclusions of the Electoral College and ask you to bless President-elect Joseph Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris,” the chaplain said.
Before congratulating Biden and Harris, McConnell praised the outgoing president.
“Over the last four years, our country has benefitted from a presidential term filled with major accomplishment,” McConnell said. “President Donald Trump has repeatedly surprised the skeptics, confounded his critics, and delivered significant policy victories that have strengthened our country.”
As McConnell and others on Capitol Hill prepare to work with the incoming Democratic administration, attention will also be paid to how Trump and his campaign will respond to the statements from McConnell and other senior Senate Republicans who are not backing his quixotic legal challenges or attempts to force a dispute at the Joint Session of Congress for counting of electoral votes on Jan. 6.