A handful of GOP lawmakers acknowledge Trump's loss after Electoral College vote, with an even smaller number calling Biden 'president-elect'

  • Although most GOP representatives have declined to call Biden "president-elect," several GOP members broke ranks today.
  • Senate Majority Whip John Thune told CNN's Manu Raju that Joe Biden is president-elect "once he crosses 270 electoral votes" and added that "it's time for everybody to move on" after certification today.
  • Sen. Lindsay Graham appeared to confirm Biden's win but deflected to talking points.
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On the day that Biden has officially been certified by the Electoral College as the president-elect, most of the GOP apparatus has not publicly changed its tune.

However, a handful of GOP officials on Monday affirmed Biden as the president-elect, while many others gave lukewarm answers or deflected to saying they were "letting the legal process play out." 

Sen. Lindsay Graham stopped short of confirming a Biden win, telling reporters in the Senate pool, "Yeah, yeah it's a very, very narrow path for the president. I don't see how it gets there from here, given what the Supreme Court did. But having said that, I think we'll let those legal challenges play out." 

Rep. Paul Mitchell left the Republican Party today to become an Independent, penning a letter which cited the GOP's refusal to accept the election results and the party's democratic backsliding as the reasons. Mitchell flatly accepted Biden's win.

Sen. Roy Blunt, the fourth highest-ranking Republican in the Senate, told the Senate press pool, "We've now gone through the constitutional process, and the electors have voted, so there's a president-elect." In a follow-up interview with the Kansas City Star, Blunt said, "I will, as Chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, work with President-elect Biden and his Presidential Inaugural Committee to plan for the swearing-in ceremony on January 20." Blunt, in the last month, had blocked a motion formally recognizing Biden's inauguration committee. 

Senate Majority Whip John Thune told CNN's Manu Raju that Joe Biden is president-elect "once he crosses 270 electoral votes" and added that efforts to challenge the results in Congress are "not going anywhere." Thune added that "it's time for everybody to move on" after certification today.

Sen. John Cornyn, who publicly disagreed with a lawsuit filed last week by the Texas attorney general (that the Supreme Court declined to take up), said, "I think there comes a time when you have to realize that despite your best efforts, you've been unsuccessful. That's sort of the nature of these elections."

"I just hope they realize that it would be futile and it's unnecessary," he added, in reference to any further GOP efforts to overturn the results. Cornyn also said according to CBS News' Nancy Cordes, "I think (Biden is) president-elect subject to whatever additional litigation is ongoing. I'm not aware of any."

In a statement Monday, GOP Sen. Mike Braun said "we must put aside politics and respect the constitutional process."

"Today, the electoral college has cast their votes and selected Joe Biden as the President-elect. State Legislatures, State Courts, and the United States Supreme Court have not found enough evidence of voter fraud to overturn the results of the Electoral College vote," Braun said, adding that the result was disappointing.

Sen. Charles E. Grassley said he did not personally need to acknowledge Biden as president-elect because "the Constitution does." Grassley again deflected, adding: "I follow the Constitution."

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, who was one of more than 120 GOP members of the House of Representatives to sign an amicus brief supporting the Texas lawsuit seeking to overturn the election, said in a statement, "I wish President-Elect Biden the best as he assumes the awesome responsibility of governing our great nation."

Sen. Rob Portman was one of the few to refer directly to Biden as president-elect in a statement, saying: "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."

Rep. Van Taylor also called Biden "president-elect" in a statement and acknowledged that Biden will be sworn in on January 20, adding, "Anne and I extend our prayers and well wishes to the Biden and Harris families as they prepare for this momentous undertaking." 

Sen. Lamar Alexander said "the election is over," in a statement on Monday. "States have certified the votes. Courts have resolved disputes. The electors have voted. I hope that President Trump will put the country first, take pride in his considerable accomplishments, and help president-elect Biden get off to a good start."

Representative Don Bacon of Nebraska also issued a statement after the certification, saying, "I thank President Trump for his leadership these past four years," adding that, "Though I don't agree with Joe Biden on key issues, I offer congratulations to him and I will pray for God's wisdom to guide his decisions."

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