Joe Biden is president-elect after the Electoral College confirmed his victory Monday, capping a tumultuous period sparked by Donald Trump’s refusal to acknowledge his loss, and by a challenge to the results backed by many in the GOP.
Some Senate Republicans who had refused to recognize Biden as president-elect until this moment started acknowledging that Trump lost and Biden will be inaugurated as the 46th president on Jan. 20.
The 55 votes from California electors put Biden over the 270 needed to win. Electors in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia cast their ballots for president and vice president in time-honored constitutional ceremonies that took on new importance after Trump insisted that the election was “rigged.”
Congress will officially count the electoral votes on Jan. 6. But many Republicans haven’t publicly acknowledged Biden’s certified victory and the court rulings rejecting challenges to the results, saying Trump has a right to let the process play out.
Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas said it would be a “bad mistake” to object to electors in Congress, calling any such move “futile and unnecessary.”
“I believe that we’ll see the page turning on January 20th,” he said. “We’ll have a peaceful transition.”
Asked whether Biden is the president-elect, Republican Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia told reporters, “it certainly looks that way, and I think it’s time to turn the page and being a new administration.”
Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa said he doesn’t have to acknowledge that Biden has won, saying “the Constitution does that.”
Investigations into any election irregularities should continue, but “today marks a watershed moment where we must put aside politics and respect the constitutional process that determines the winner of our presidential election,” Republican Sen. Mike Braun of Indiana said in a statement.
”We’ve met the the constitutional threshold and we’ll deal with Vice President Biden as the president-elect,” said Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri. Blunt added that as chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies he would work with Biden’s inaugural committee to plan for the swearing-in ceremony on Jan. 20.
Of note, however, is the fact that Trump remains in challenge mode. He said in an interview on Fox News broadcast Sunday that he’d continue with legal challenges, even after the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday rejected the bid by Texas to nullify the election results in four pivotal states -- a case the president had called “the big one.”
The lawsuit sought to invalidate votes in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin to install Trump for another term. Republican attorneys general in 18 states and 126 congressional Republicans -- about two-thirds of the GOP caucus -- had supported it.
Republicans said Trump electors who weren’t certified met in Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin to cast votes in case pending litigation overturned the results, even though the official electoral votes have the state’s seal.
Indeed, some legal experts say the bar for getting Congress to consider a rival slate of electors is very high. It's “not going to work as a matter of law,” said Edward Foley, a professor and director of an election-law program at Ohio State University who has studied disputed elections.
Biden is planning an address to the nation that will call on Americans to come together now that the process has concluded.
“The flame of democracy was lit in this nation a long time ago. And we now know that nothing — not even a pandemic or an abuse of power — can extinguish that flame,” Biden said in prepared remarks his transition team announced he would deliver at 7:30 p.m. New York time. “And so, now it is time to turn the page. To unite. To heal.”
The president’s campaign and his allies have so far filed dozens of lawsuits seeking to invalidate Biden’s victories in the battleground states, and almost all have failed, either for lack of evidence or because the judges found the cases lacked standing to be heard in their courtrooms.
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