Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell congratulated Democrat Joe Biden as president-elect on Tuesday, saying the Electoral College “has spoken.”
The Republican leader’s statement, delivered in a speech on the Senate floor, ends weeks of silence over President Donald Trump’s defeat. It came a day after electors met and officially affirmed Biden’s election win.
“I want to congratulate President-elect Joe Biden,” McConnell said.
“Many of us had hoped the presidential election would yield a different result,” he said. “But our system of government has the processes to determine who will be sworn in on Jan. 20. The Electoral College has spoken.”
McConnell called Biden someone “who has devoted himself to public service for many years.” He also congratulated Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, saying “all Americans can take pride that our nation has a female vice president-elect for the very first time.”
The Senate leader’s remarks followed a groundswell of leading Republicans who have now said that Biden is the winner of the presidential election, essentially abandoning Trump’s assault on the outcome after the Electoral College on Monday confirmed Biden’s victory.
McConnell prefaced his remarks with sweeping praise for what he characterized as Trump’s “endless” accomplishments during four years in office. He said Trump delivered on a promise to “shake up Washington,” and cited president’s nomination and Senate confirmation of three Supreme Court justices, among other accomplishments. The leader said Trump and Vice President Mike Pence “deserve our thanks.”
For his part, Trump continued to push his baseless claims of “voter fraud” in a new tweet on Tuesday.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said now that McConnell has spoken, “enough is enough.”
Trump should “end his term with a modicum of grace and dignity,” Schumer said.
With states having affirmed the election results, the Republicans faced a pivotal choice — to declare Biden the president-elect, as the tally showed, or keep standing silently by as Trump waged a potentially damaging campaign to overturn the election.