New York: US President-elect Joe Biden has denounced President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election, declaring hours after the state-by-state Electoral College officially certified his victory that the “will of the people had prevailed”.
The final tally, 306 (Biden) to 232 (Trump) electoral votes, followed a baseless campaign by the president to reverse the results of an election that saw historic turnout despite the coronavirus pandemic. Trump lost not only in the electoral college but the popular vote, too, by nearly 7 million votes.
Speaking from Wilmington, Delaware, Biden, who will be inaugurated next month, roundly rejected Trump’s refusal to concede defeat and attempts to overturn the election’s results.
“In America, politicians don’t take power, the people grant it to them,” Biden said, adding: “The flame of democracy was lit in this nation a long time ago. And we now know that nothing, not even a pandemic or an abuse of power, can extinguish that flame.”
Biden said that he and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris had won more votes than any previous presidential ticket in history, calling their victory the “clearest demonstration of the will of the American people.”
He noted that he won by about the same Electoral College margin as Trump did in 2016. The president at that time called it a “landslide victory.”
The former vice president said that Trump had made use of every legal avenue available to him in challenging the outcome and that now it is time to accept the results and move on.
“Respecting the will of the people is at the heart of our democracy even when we find those results hard to accept,” Biden said. “But that’s the obligation of those who have taken on a sworn duty to uphold the Constitution.”
“In this battle for the soul of America, democracy prevailed … faith in our institutions held and the integrity of our elections remained intact,” he continued. “And now it’s time to turn the page as we’ve done throughout our history, to unite and to heal.’
But even six weeks after Election Day, Trump has still not conceded, and his campaign is working to have the outcome overturned in state and federal courts, where dozens of its lawsuits have so far been rejected or dismissed.
Biden praised the democratic institutions that he said had “proved to be resilient and strong” despite having been “pushed, tested and threatened” by the president and his allies.
Trump has been making unsubstantiated claims about the election being stolen from him through widespread fraud. He’s called on Republicans electors and lawmakers to revolt in an effort to reverse the outcome.
But the Electoral College meeting on Monday ran mostly smoothly, despite some demonstrations and protests across the country.
Biden praised the election workers and state officials he said had refused to bend in the face of political pressure and in some cases, threats of violence.
“They could not and would not give credence to what they know is not true,” he said. “They knew this election was overseen, it was honest, it was free and it was fair. They saw it with their own eyes, and they wouldn’t be bullied into saying anything different.”
“They were subject to political pressure, verbal abuse and even threats of physical violence,” he added. It’s simply unconscionable.”
So far, Trump and his allies have given no sign they intend to draw back their rhetoric or legal challenges, despite their repeated failures to gain any traction in court.
“The Trump campaign brought dozens of legal challenges to test the result,” Biden said. “They were heard, again and again, and each of the time they were heard, they were found to be without merit.”
Biden slammed the lawsuit brought by Texas seeking to throw out the election results in four states.
The Supreme Court refused to hear the case, which was joined by 17 other Republican state attorneys general and more than 120 House Republicans.
“Thankfully, a unanimous Supreme Court immediately and completely rejected this effort, sending a clear signal to the president that they’d be no part in an unprecedented assault on our democracy,” Biden said.
Congress will certify the Electoral College vote on Jan. 6, and Biden will be sworn in on Jan. 20.
Biden on Monday called on the country to “unite” and “heal” at a time of deep polarization and anger following a year that was dominated by divisive election politics and the coronavirus pandemic.
“There is urgent work in front of all of us,” he said. “Getting the pandemic under control to getting the nation vaccinated against this virus, delivering immediate economic help so badly needed by so many Americans who are hurting today.”
In a sign that Republicans were increasingly prepared to accept reality, some senators and members of Congress acknowledged the electoral college vote.
“The orderly transfer of power is a hallmark of our democracy, and although I supported President Trump, the electoral college vote today makes clear that Joe Biden is now president-elect,” the Republican senator Rob Portman said in a statement.