Speed Reads

Holes in Trump's dike

Top Senate Republicans acknowledge Biden's win after Electoral College vote, but not Mitch McConnell

There are still Senate Republicans who refuse to publicly acknowledged that President-elect Joe Biden defeated President Trump in the Nov. 3 election, but that number shrank Monday after the Electoral College cast its votes, formalizing Biden's 306-232 win.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) had still not publicly acknowledged Biden's victory, but his top deputy, Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) did Monday, as did the No. 4 Senate Republican, Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), who chairs the inaugural committee, and the No. 5 Republican, Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa). (The third-ranking Senate Republican, John Barrasso of Wyoming, said asking about Biden's status was a "gotcha question" but suggested Biden has effectively been president-elect since Trump signed off on the transition process three weeks ago.)

"I understand there are people who feel strongly about the outcome of this election," Thune said. "But in the end, at some point you have to face the music, and I think that once the Electoral College settles the issue today that it's time for everybody to move on." Blunt said "the electors have voted, so there's a president-elect," and his inaugural committee will now "deal with Vice President Biden as the president-elect."

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) said that "although I supported President Trump, the Electoral College vote today makes clear that Joe Biden is now president-elect." Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) said "it's time to turn the page and begin a new administration," and Sen Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) was blunt: "Vice President Biden is the president-elect based on the electoral count."

Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas), Steve Daines (Mont.), and James Inhofe (Okla.) aren't quite there yet. "No," Inhofe said when asked Monday if Biden is president-elect. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a Trump ally, said "yeah" when asked the same question, then noted that Trump still has "a very, very narrow path" and "we'll let those legal challenges play out."

Even the pro-Trump network Newsmax dipped its toe in the reality of Biden's win Monday. Afternoon anchor John Bachman called Biden president-elect, explaining, "What I'm trying to do is manage everyone's expectations." But the Newsmax show after his treated Biden's victory as more of an open question, and rival pro-Trump network One America News hardly mentioned the Electoral College vote at all, broadcasting instead an Arizona hearing on voting procedures.