WASHINGTON — High-ranking Senate Republicans irresponsibly and baselessly cast doubt on the election results and did not acknowledge President-elect Joe Biden as the rightful winner of the race during a brief press conference Tuesday morning.
The comments came after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was elected as leader of the caucus again Tuesday and as President Donald Trump continues to refuse to concede the election to Biden, alleging, without evidence, that the election was stolen from him.
Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri, who was also reelected Tuesday to Republican Senate leadership, falsely said at the press conference that Biden may not in fact have been victorious; Blunt also lauded the success of Republican Senate candidates in that same election.
“What we saw in this last campaign was that candidates really matter, but what you’re for also really matters. I think that’s one of the reasons that virtually every predictor of what was going to happen in the election was wrong,” Blunt said. “The president wasn’t defeated by huge numbers. In fact, he may not have been defeated at all.”
That is a lie. The president was defeated, as Biden secured the necessary 270 electoral votes needed to win the election.
BuzzFeed News has journalists around the US bringing you trustworthy stories on the 2020 elections. To help keep this news free, become a member.
When McConnell took questions, one reporter asked, “What does it say about America that heads of state around the world have congratulated President-elect Biden and Vice President–elect [Kamala] Harris and Republican leadership has still neglected to do so? Are you all afraid of President Trump?”
McConnell did not answer the second question — whether he and other Republicans fear the president — but said, “What it says about America is that until the Electoral College votes, anyone who's running for office can exhaust concerns about counting in any court of appropriate jurisdiction. It’s not unusual. It should not be alarming.”
He continued, “At some point here, we’ll find out finally who was certified in each of these states and the Electoral College will determine a winner and that person will be sworn in on Jan. 20. No reason for alarm.”
But it is absolutely unusual — and for many people definitely alarming — that most Republicans have thus far refused to accept election results. Though the Electoral College doesn’t officially vote until Dec. 14, it is highly unusual to refuse clear results. In every recent election, the losing presidential candidate has conceded the race and called for national unity behind the president-elect within days (with the exception of the 2000 race, which was substantially closer).
Only a handful of Republican senators, including Mitt Romney, Ben Sasse, Susan Collins, and Lisa Murkowski, have even referred to Biden as the president-elect.
Later in the press conference on Tuesday, McConnell was asked whether he believes transition funds should be released for Biden even as Trump tries to make legal challenges to the election, and the Senate majority leader again cast doubt on the former vice president’s rightful win. (A Trump appointee, Emily Murphy, who runs the General Services Administration, has so far refused to release transition funds to Biden.)
“I don’t think anything that’s occurred so far interrupts an ordinary process of moving through the various steps that I indicated and allowing, if there is a new administration, it to work through the transition,” McConnell said. “All of these steps will be taken at the appropriate time.”
If you have a news tip, we’d like to hear from you. Reach out to us via one of our tip line channels.
McConnell made similar comments in support of the president on Monday, saying, "In the United States of America, all legal ballots must be counted. Any illegal ballots must not be counted. The process should be transparent or observable by all sides and the courts are here to work through concerns. … President Trump is 100% within his rights to look into allegations of irregularities and weigh his legal options."