Sunday August 1st, 2021 1:34PM

Turning the page? Republicans acknowledge Biden's victory

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WASHINGTON (AP) — More than a month after the election, top Republicans finally acknowledged Joe Biden as the next U.S. president, a collapse in GOP resistance to the millions of voters who decisively chose the Democrat. Foreign leaders joined the parade, too, including Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

Speaking on Tuesday from the floor of the U.S. Senate where Biden spent 36 years of his career, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell congratulated his former colleague as president-elect. The two men spoke later in the day.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, meanwhile, was to meet with his likely successor in the new administration, Antony Blinken. And GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, one of President Donald Trump's closest allies, said he'd spoken with some of Biden's Cabinet picks.

A similar shift unfolded in capitals across the world, where leaders including Russia's Putin and Mexico's Andrés Manuel López Obrador acknowledged Biden's win.

The moves came a day after electors nationwide formally cast votes affirming Biden's victory in last month's presidential election. And while that clears a more stable path for Biden to assume the presidency, it does little to stop Trump from continuing to try to undermine confidence in the results with baseless allegations that have been rejected by judges across the political spectrum.

As Republicans began discussing a Biden presidency more openly on Tuesday, Trump still pledged to press forward with almost nonexistent legal options.

“Tremendous evidence pouring in on voter fraud. There has never been anything like this in our Country!” Trump tweeted just as members of his party were publicly recognizing Biden's victory.

Hours later, in an overnight tweet that referenced McConnell, Trump wrote: “Too soon to give up. Republican Party must finally learn to fight. People are angry!”

The growing acknowledgment of reality in Washington was triggered by the Electoral College formally voting on Monday to seal Biden’s win with 306 votes to Trump's 232, the same margin that Trump pulled together four years ago. The normally humdrum political ceremony didn’t change the facts of the election but was nonetheless used as political cover by leading Republicans.

“Many of us had hoped the presidential election would yield a different result,” McConnell said. “But our system of government has the processes to determine who will be sworn in on Jan. 20. The Electoral College has spoken.”

The bureaucratic transition from Trump's government to Biden’s actually began weeks ago, despite the president’s legal challenges. Still, the suddenly conciliatory stance from many Republicans could thaw the political deep freeze that has gripped Washington lately.

Biden has been trying to build momentum as he prepares to assume the presidency while facing the historic challenge of vaccinating hundreds of millions of Americans against the coronavirus. In some of his most forceful remarks since the election, Biden is calling for unity but also calling Trump's attacks on the voting process “unconscionable” and insisting it is time to “turn the page.'

“We need to work together, give each other a chance, and lower the temperature,” Biden said in a speech Monday.

Still, the shift coming so late in the tone from Republicans has left the president-elect with barely a month to finish building out key parts his new government. Some say the GOP about-face won't mean much at this point.

“Even them doing this now, the damage has been done because they’ve blocked, they’ve interrupted,” said Anthony Robinson, a former Obama administration appointee who served several national security policy roles including during the transition to the Trump administration in 2016.

“I don’t want to say, 'Who cares?,' but it definitely doesn’t symbolize a smooth transition,” said Robinson, who is now political director of the National Democratic Training Committee, which trains candidates and campaign staffers all over the country.

Biden's first priority will be the fair and efficient distribution of vaccines against the virus. The president-elect said Tuesday that he would follow the advice of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, who says that getting the president-elect himself vaccinated as soon as possible is a matter of national security.

“Dr. Fauci recommends I get the vaccine sooner than later. I want to make sure we do it by the numbers,” Biden said, adding that he'd be immunized publicly, which could help build public trust in the vaccine.

Trump’s continued opposition to Biden, meanwhile, may still present roadblocks, especially in the U.S. House where Republicans as recently as last week were introducing legislation to punish members of their party who might be seen as urging Trump to “concede prematurely.” Other top Trump administration Cabinet officials haven't yet followed the lead of Pompeo, who plans to meet Thursday with Blinken, Biden’s secretary of state nominee.

“The president is still involved in ongoing litigation related to the election," said White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, calling the Electoral College vote “one step in the constitutional process.”

Rick Tyler, a Republican operative and fierce Trump critic, said it seemed at first like "the Electoral College had broken the evil spell that Trump cast across the Republican Party.”

But he said the attacks on the electoral system that Trump is continuing to wage have many of his supporters now questioning American democracy itself— and that won’t quickly dissipate just because some Republicans and world leaders are now willing to say conciliatory things.

“There really are 50-plus million people who no longer have trust in our system, and that’s a dangerous thing,” said Tyler. He said Biden must "figure out a way to restore that trust. And it can’t just be a partisan attack on Republicans for, frankly, being stupid.”

Also looming large is the divided U.S. Senate, where majority control will depend on the outcome of two special elections in Georgia on Jan. 5. Unless Democrats win both those races, Senate Republicans will have the power to block many of Biden's Cabinet nominations, not to mention thwart his policy initiatives.

Underscoring the urgency on that score, Biden traveled Tuesday to Georgia, his first trip beyond Delaware and southeast Pennsylvania since the election.

“I need two senators from this state who want to get something done, not just get in the way,” Biden told a drive-in rally in Atlanta.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Elections, General Election News, General Presidential Election News, AP Online - Georgia News
© Copyright 2021
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Twin football games leads Fox to ratings win
With pro football games accounting for all of its prime time programming on Tuesday and Thursday, Fox led the television networks in viewership last week
6:05PM ( 14 minutes ago )
Turning the page? Republicans acknowledge Biden's victory
More than a month after the election, some of the nation’s highest-profile Republican holdouts are beginning to embrace reality
5:59PM ( 19 minutes ago )
Census releases data to check official count for accuracy
The U.S. Census Bureau has released a range of population estimates based on exisiting government statistics that are completely separate from the once-on-a-decade head count of every U.S. resident
5:41PM ( 38 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
AP sources: Biden to pick Buttigieg as transportation chief
President-elect Joe Biden is expected to pick his former rival Pete Buttigieg as secretary of transportation
5:21PM ( 57 minutes ago )
The Latest: West Virginia coronavirus deaths pass 1,000
The death toll from the coronavirus pandemic in West Virginia has pushed past 1,000 with the announcement of a record 34 deaths
5:15PM ( 1 hour ago )
Boko Haram claims abduction of students in northern Nigeria
Rebels from the Boko Haram extremist group claimed responsibility for abducting hundreds of boys from a school in Nigeria’s northern Katsina State last week
4:44PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
Over-the-counter home test for COVID-19 gets US green light
A home test for COVID-19 will soon be on U.S. store shelves
2:56PM ( 3 hours ago )
Biden to take oath outside Capitol amid virus restrictions
President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will take their oaths of office outside the U.S. Capital building, but it probably won't look like other inaugurations
2:31PM ( 3 hours ago )
GOP leader McConnell finally acknowledges Biden won election
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has finally acknowledged that Democrat Joe Biden won the presidential election
1:26PM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Online National News
Justices asked again to reinstate rule for abortion pill
The Trump administration is asking the Supreme Court a second time to reinstate a rule that women must pick up an abortion pill in person during the COVID-19 pandemic
5:12PM ( 1 hour ago )
Biden tells Georgia he needs a Democratic Senate to govern
President-elect Joe Biden is telling Georgia voters that they must deliver two Democratic Senate runoffs victories so his administration can confront the coronavirus pandemic and other national challenges
5:11PM ( 1 hour ago )
Mrs. Trump visits children's hospital, a holiday tradition
Melania Trump isn't letting the coronavirus pandemic halt a decadeslong tradition of first ladies visiting a Washington, D
5:06PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
The Latest: McConnell acknowledges Biden is president-elect
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has acknowledged for the first time that Joe Biden has been elected president
10:50AM ( 7 hours ago )
Family members who own Purdue to appear before Congress
Two members of the Sackler family have agreed to make a rare public appearance to take questions from a congressional committee that is investigating the role of the company they own, Purdue Pharma, in fueling the nation's opioid epidemic
10:07AM ( 8 hours ago )
Top official of South Africa's ruling ANC urged to step down
The secretary-general of South Africa’s ruling party, the African National Congress, may be forced to step down after the party’s integrity commission recommended that he be suspended because he has been charged with corruption
9:58AM ( 8 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
The Latest: 4th Ga. Republican representative tests positive
U.S. Rep. Barry Loudermilk has tested positive for COVID-19
2:46PM ( 3 hours ago )
The Latest: Emanuel back in mix for Biden administration job
Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is back in the mix for a job in the Biden administration, including consideration for high-level diplomatic postings
10:15AM ( 8 hours ago )
The Latest: Mike Pompeo plans to meet with Antony Blinken
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo plans to meet this week with his designated successor, Antony Blinken, in what could be the first face-to-face Cabinet-level transition contact between the outgoing Trump administration and President-elect Joe Biden’s incoming national security team
9:55AM ( 8 hours ago )
AP Elections
The Latest: Graham says he had 'pleasant' chat with Biden
One of President Donald Trump’s closest congressional allies says he’s talked with President-elect Joe Biden and will “be helpful where I can.”
6:51PM ( 23 hours ago )
The Latest: Graham, Blunt now acknowledge Biden's victory
Two more top Republican senators are acknowledging that Democrat Joe Biden won the presidential election
6:34PM ( 23 hours ago )
Biden clears 270-vote mark as electors affirm his victory
Presidential electors have given Joe Biden a majority of their votes, formalizing his victory in last month’s election
6:19PM ( 1 day ago )
General Election News
Battleground states vote as electors formally choose Biden
Presidential electors in key battleground states have cast the votes that will affirm Joe Biden as the nation’s next president
5:11PM ( 1 day ago )
The Latest: Republicans mad about Biden's win hold side vote
Some Republicans who refuse to acknowledge the reality of President-elect Joe Biden’s win are meeting to cast ceremonial votes for President Donald Trump
1:22PM ( 1 day ago )
The Latest: Ohio casts its 18 electoral votes for Trump
Ohio’s electors have cast their 18 votes for President Donald Trump
1:12PM ( 1 day ago )
General Presidential Election News
Census releases data to check official count for accuracy
The U.S. Census Bureau has released a range of population estimates based on exisiting government statistics that are completely separate from the once-on-a-decade head count of every U.S. resident
5:41PM ( 38 minutes ago )
Big-spending Hawks hoping depth produces return to playoffs
The Atlanta Hawks are expected to compete for a playoff spot this season
5:35PM ( 44 minutes ago )
The Latest: Ohio State women's basketball pauses
The No. 17 Ohio State women’s basketball team canceled Saturday’s game against Iowa because of a spike in positive COVID-19 tests in the Buckeyes program and the program paused activities
5:35PM ( 44 minutes ago )
Hopeful sign: Midwestern states see drop in new virus cases
After a punishing fall that left hospitals struggling, some Midwestern states are seeing a decline in new coronavirus cases
5:33PM ( 46 minutes ago )
US vaccinations ramp up as 2nd COVID-19 shot nears
Hundreds more U.S. hospitals have started inoculating their workers as a second COVID-19 vaccine moves toward government authorization
5:23PM ( 56 minutes ago )