Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday declined to acknowledge President-elect Joe Biden’s victory and backed President Donald Trump’s refusal to concede the 2020 election, saying that the president had “every right to look into allegations and request recounts.”
As the Kentucky Republican, who was recently reelected to a seventh term, celebrated the electoral wins of Senate Republicans, he would not refute Trump’s position.
“Obviously, no states have yet certified their election results,” McConnell said. “We have at least one or two states that are already on track for a recount and I believe the president may have legal challenges underway in at least five states.”
He added: “President Trump is 100% within his rights to look into allegations of irregularities and weigh his legal options.”
Due to the closeness of the races in Wisconsin and Georgia, recounts are expected to occur within the next few weeks. Biden leads by roughly 20,000 votes in Wisconsin and almost 11,000 votes in Georgia. The president’s campaign team has launched election-related lawsuits in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.
McConnell said that Democrats didn’t have any grounds to criticise Trump and accused them of refusing to accept the 2016 presidential election results when Trump defeated former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
“Let’s not have any lectures about how the president should immediately, cheerfully accept preliminary election results from the same characters who just spent four years refusing to accept the validity of the last election,” he said.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer responded to McConnell, saying that Biden was the legitimate winner.
“Joe Biden won this election fair and square,” he said. “Republican leaders must unequivocally condemn the president’s rhetoric and work to ensure the peaceful transfer of power.”
While a handful of GOP senators including Mitt Romney, Lisa Murkowski, Ben Sasse, and Susan Collins have publicly congratulated Biden, most members of the party have remained mum while others have urged the president to fight the election result.
As of Monday, no one from the White House has reached out to Biden or his campaign about transition plans.
By JOHN L. DORMAN