In a blow to millions of Americans who want President Trump to continue to fight for the White House, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has broken ranks and publicly accepted that Joe Biden will be the next president. Speaking on the Senate floor, the Kentucky lawmaker said:
“Many of us hoped that the presidential election would yield a different result, but our system of government has processes to determine who will be sworn in on Jan. 20. The Electoral College has spoken.
So today, I want to congratulate President-elect Joe Biden. The president-elect is no stranger to the Senate. He’s devoted himself to public service for many years.”
There remain a number of challenges that the Trump campaign legal team and other interested parties are pursuing. Although there is a good chance they will not overturn the announced results, many see the point of fighting the cause not so much as for the benefit of the president but as a way of ensuring that future elections are honest and above doubt.
A Greater Responsibility?
With only 50% of the country positive that the election was conducted fairly (according to the latest Rasmussen polling), faith in the system is at an all-time low. Many have argued that every question must be asked and answered if the country is not to lose an entire generation of voters. McConnell’s decision to congratulate Joe Biden suggests that answers will not be forthcoming.
Axios reported that the senator called the White House in advance and spoke with chief of staff Mark Meadows about his intentions. Despite the outreach, President Trump was not happy. He tweeted:
“Mitch, 75,000,000 VOTES, a record for a sitting President (by a lot). Too soon to give up. Republican Party must finally learn to fight. People are angry!”
Senator McConnell may well be just dealing with the world as he sees it, but he has a greater responsibility than his own opinion. Republican lawmakers, Trump voters, and even Biden voters expect their elections to be free, fair, and most of all, transparent. Without the backing of key members of the GOP, President Trump’s work just got even harder.
No Man Is An Island
The backlash to the senator’s vicarious concession was swift. Pro-Trump attorney Lin Wood lashed out, accusing him of not being a patriot. He wrote:
“Mitch McConnell is NOT a Patriot. Ask his wife. She knows. McConnell just wants power, influence, & money. He is willing to sell America to get what he wants. McConnell is a traitor to American Patriots.
His day of judgment is coming.”
Representative Mo Brooks of Alabama – who is planning to contest specific electors – gave a guarded but damning opinion. He said, “It’s exactly what you’d expect from Senator McConnell.” He went further, saying that McConnell “is not the key to this. The key are [sic] the American voters.”
And this is the root of the matter … the voters.
All-important Senate runoff races are taking place in Georgia. To have any chance of winning those crucial seats that spell the difference between a majority and an effective minority, Mitch McConnell needs cash, support, and a cohesive party ready to come together. By giving up on President Trump, McConnell has announced to the thousands of volunteers that might have engaged, and the millions of voters who have yet to cast a ballot, that he is not prepared for the fight they demand.
Read more from Mark Angelides.