U.S. President-elect Joe Biden said Tuesday he told Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell during a phone call that although they disagree on “a lot of things, there are things we can work together on.”
McConnell, who had refrained from declaring Biden the winner, said in a Senate speech Tuesday that Biden’s 306-232 victory the previous day in the Electoral College made his claim to a four-year term in the White House a reality.
“As of this morning, our country has officially a president-elect and a vice president-elect,” McConnell said. “Many millions of us had hoped the presidential election would yield a different result. But our system of government has processes to determine who will be sworn in on January 20. The Electoral College has spoken.”
Trump, who has continued to make unfounded claims that he was cheated out of re-election, responded in an early Wednesday tweet to McConnell’s acknowledgment that Biden would become the country’s 46th president.
“Mitch, 75,000,000 VOTES, a record for a sitting President (by a lot),” Trump said. “Too soon to give up. Republican Party must finally learn to fight. People are angry!”
White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany on Tuesday deflected questions about the McConnell statement. She said Trump was “still involved in litigation” over the outcome of the election, although he and his allies have lost more than 50 lawsuits claiming vote and vote-counting irregularities. Trump has refused to concede his defeat to Biden.
After McConnell spoke, Biden, speaking to reporters on a Delaware airport tarmac before boarding a flight to Georgia, said he called the Senate leader and they had “a good conversation. I called him to thank him for the congratulations.”
“We’ve always been straight with one another,” said Biden, who has worked with McConnell for three decades during his days as vice president under former President Barack Obama and as a senator from Delaware. “We agreed we’d get together sooner than later. I’m looking forward to working with him.”
Later during a campaign appearance in Atlanta for two U.S. Senate candidates, the president-elect made note of the post-election claims of vote count irregularities in Georgia by Trump and his allies.
“Thank you for standing strong and making sure your votes were counted and counted and counted again,” Biden said. “I’m starting to feel like I won Georgia three times.”
He knocked incumbent Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler for embracing a failed Texas-led lawsuit against the election outcome.
“I’ll try to be generous here, in the spirit of the season. Maybe your senators were just confused. Maybe they think they represent Texas,” Biden said.
Biden is supporting two Democrats in the runoff — Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock — who appeared on stage with the president-elect at the conclusion of his remarks at a historic railyard.
“I think Georgia is going to shock the nation with the number of people who are going to vote on January 5,” predicted Biden.
“I need two senators from this state who want to get something done, not two senators who are just going to get in the way,” he said.
The day after the Georgia runoff election, the Senate and House of Representatives are set to review and certify the Electoral College outcome.
Trump is holding out one last hope of retaining the presidency, expressing Twitter support for a protest led by Alabama Congressman Mo Brooks contesting Biden’s victories in five states.
But Brooks needs a senator to join his protest and so far, no senator has agreed to sign on to his claim that Trump was victorious.
Since the November 3 national election, only a small group of Republican lawmakers has acknowledged Biden’s victory. Many Republicans have either stayed mum or voiced support for Trump’s long-shot efforts to upend Biden’s win.
But after the Electoral College outcome, several more key Republicans in Washington said Monday that Biden had won the presidency, making Trump the fifth U.S. president in the country’s 244-year history to lose a bid for reelection after a single term in office.
In the country’s indirect form of democracy, the Electoral College, with electors from throughout the U.S., determines the outcome of presidential elections, not the national popular vote, although Biden won it, too, by more than 7 million votes over Trump.
In 48 of the 50 states, electors pledged to either Biden or Trump cast all their votes in the Electoral College based on the popular vote outcome in their individual states, while the vote in two small states, Maine and Nebraska, was split by congressional districts and their statewide outcomes.
Biden addressed the Electoral College verdict in a nationwide address Monday night, saying, “If anyone didn’t know it before, we know it now. What beats deep in the hearts of the American people is this: Democracy.”
But Biden also attacked Trump’s post-election quest to delegitimize the process, saying “not even an abuse of power” and an “unprecedented assault on our democracy” could derail a peaceful political transition in American leadership.
VOA's Ken Bredemeier in Washington contributed to this report.