December 15, 2020 7:43:42 am
President-elect Joe Biden sought to dispel any questions about the legitimacy of his victory and called on the American people to accept the outcome hours after the Electoral College sealed his win.
Seeking to end an unusually long and contentious election, Biden urged the nation to turn the page on what he described as “an unprecedented assault on our democracy.” He said he would be the president for all Americans, even those who don’t agree with him. He urged people to focus instead on combating the pandemic and its economic fallout.
Biden’s Electoral College win over President Donald Trump was finalized after electors in each state voted Monday. The only step that remains is for Congress to count those votes on Jan. 6. Trump and his allies are still protesting the result, but with more than 50 post-election lawsuits rejected, including by the U.S. Supreme Court, they have no viable path to overturn it.
Biden noted his 306 Electoral College votes, the same number Trump earned in 2016.
“By his own standards these numbers represented a clear victory then and I respectfully suggest they do so now,” he said in a speech in Wilmington, Delaware.
Biden faulted Trump and his allies for promoting unsubstantiated claims that voter fraud made the president-elect an illegitimate winner and stoking partisan outrage that has led to violence in city streets and threats of violence against elections officials and workers.
He methodically described the legal challenges Trump and his allies have mounted and called them attempts “to hand the presidency to a candidate who lost the Electoral College, lost the popular vote and lost each and every one of the states whose votes they were trying to reverse. It’s a position so extreme, we’ve never seen it before. A position that refused to respect the will of the people, refused to respect the rule of law and refused to honor our Constitution.”
Biden then moved to remind viewers of the resilience of the American democracy.
“We the people voted. Faith in our institutions held. The integrity of our elections remains intact,” Biden said. “And so, now it is time to turn the page. To unite. To heal.”
Instead of looking back he urged Americans to look ahead to the “urgent work” of “getting the pandemic under control to getting the nation vaccinated against this virus” and “delivering immediate economic help so badly needed by so many Americans who are hurting today — and then building our economy back better than ever.”
Since the Nov. 3 election, Trump has maintained a steady drumbeat of unsubstantiated claims that he was the legitimate winner and that Biden only came out ahead because of widespread fraud and “rigging.” Numerous lawsuits staked on those claims have been rejected by the courts and are at dead ends.
Biden earned 7 million votes more than Trump and flipped five states, including Georgia, which was once considered a Republican stronghold. Georgia is also where both Senate seats are up in a runoff election set for Jan. 5, the result of which will determine control of the U.S. Senate.
Biden’s call for a united fight against the coronavirus comes as the country passes the grim milestone of 300,000 deaths but also the first day vaccines were distributed, bringing some tangible hope.
Since the election was called for Biden, the president-elect has moved steadily toward building a government, even before Trump reluctantly allowed the official transition to begin. He has unveiled much of his cabinet and top White House officials, including nominees to be secretaries of State, Defense and Treasury.
More than a half-dozen Senate Republicans acknowledged Biden’s victory on Monday, indicating the election was over. Trump offered no public reaction to the Electoral College vote.
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