Pressure grows on Mitch McConnell to face reality and admit Joe Biden is the next president

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

President-elect Joe Biden was yet again confirmed the victor of the 2020 elections when the Electoral College officially cemented his win against President Donald Trump on Monday, following the incumbent’s failed attempts to overturn his defeat in the courts.

But some Republicans are still having a difficult time facing that reality, including the president himself, who has promoted outright falsities and debunked conspiracy theories surrounding the national vote long before Americans even had the chance to cast their ballots.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declined to acknowledge Mr Biden as president-elect by Tuesday morning, even as scores of lawmakers within his own party released statements which appeared to accept Mr Trump’s loss.

The senate majority leader’s deputy, Senator John Thune of South Dakota, said on Monday that “at some point you have to face the music” in a statement to reporters.

Speaking just before the Electoral College officially voted to confirm Mr Biden as president-elect, the Republican added: “Once the Electoral college settles the issue today, it’s time for everybody to move on.”

Many top GOP officials held out until Monday before acknowledging Mr Biden’s victory over Mr Trump, who has long falsely claimed he could only lose the 2020 elections if the vote was rigged against him. In reality, the Department of Homeland Security described the last election as the “most secure” in the nation’s history, while the Justice Department also suggested it found no evidence of widespread fraud or vote rigging.

But the statements from many Republican holdouts came flooding in on Monday as electors met virtually and in socially-distanced settings across the country.

Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri, who heads the inaugural committee, used the term “president-elect” in his statement on Monday afternoon and said his panel would cooperate and work with Mr Biden on his inauguration plans for January.

Senator John Cornyn of Texas put it bluntly in a statement that said: “That’s sort of the nature of these elections. You got to have a winner. You got to have a loser.”

As the Electoral College met on Monday, it was reported the Trump campaign filed another federal lawsuit seeking to overturn the votes, this time specifically targeting drop boxes for mail-in voting, which were used across the country — and in several key states where Mr Trump lost to Mr Biden — due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Though a growing pool of research proved mail-in voting was a safe and fraud-free way of voting, Mr Trump and his allies have falsely claimed the votes would be manipulated against him.

Mr Cornyn acknowledged the president’s failed legal efforts, saying once those have been exhausted, “Joe Biden [is] on a path to be president of the United States.”

Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa appeared to accept the reality of the situation on Monday when he said: “It doesn’t matter what Chuck Grassley thinks, the Constitution has answered that question for you … that’s all I can say on it.”

Even Russian President Vladimir Putin released a statement by early Tuesday morning acknowledging Mr Biden defeated Mr Trump in the 2020 elections. The Russian president was one of the last remaining international leaders who had declined to accept Mr Biden’s win until the Electoral College confirmed his victory this week.

While Mr McConnell remained silent, some Republican allies to the president continued to insist his legal challenges could produce something meaningful in the courts just before Mr Biden’s inauguration.

Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina told reporters: “I’d call him Joe until he gets sworn in.”

The president’s continued legal efforts were unlikely to produce any significant changes to the vote count that would overturn the elections. Still, it would appear that Mr Trump and some of closest allies don’t seem to have any intention of admitting the truth with just a few weeks before Mr Biden assumes the Oval Office.

Additional reporting by Associated Press

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