McConnell Congratulates Biden and Harris

Our long national farce is over.

MSNBC (“After weeks of delay, Senate GOP leader McConnell congratulates Joe Biden following Electoral College vote“):

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell explicitly acknowledged Joe Biden as president-elect for the first time on Tuesday after weeks of Republican delays in recognizing the 2020 election result.

The Kentucky Republican congratulated the incoming Democratic president after the Electoral College formally certified Biden’s victory on Monday. Numerous GOP senators did not acknowledge Biden as the election winner for more than a month as President Donald Trump made baseless claims that widespread election fraud cost him a second term in the White House.

“Our country has officially a president-elect and a vice president-elect,” McConnell said on the Senate floor on Tuesday.

“The Electoral College has spoken. So today I want to congratulate President-elect Joe Biden” and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, he later continued.

While I considered simply adding this as an update to this morning’s post about Senate Republicans finally rallying, I decided that this is sufficiently noteworthy to highlight in a separate post. This should be the end of this nonsense, at least from the official GOP. Presumably, Trump himself will continue maintaining that the election was somehow stolen but the rest of the party has no choice but to move on.

Again, I don’t think McConnell deserves any praise for doing what he should have done weeks ago. But it’s a signal that the transition will happen and the Republican Party will recognize Biden as the legitimate President of the United States.

The real test is whether Senate Republicans—especially if they preserve a thin majority after the Georgia runoffs—will work as a responsible opposition party, allowing Biden to govern while extracting compromises. There is, sadly, little reason to hope that they will after eight years of obstruction under President Obama. But it’s possible that either their respect for Biden as one of their own or reading the writing on the wall will nudge them in that direction.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2020, Congress, US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Kathy says:

    At his inauguration, Biden can wish him a happy Thanksgiving.

    18
  2. Scott F. says:

    The real test is whether Senate Republicans—especially if they preserve a thin majority after the Georgia runoffs—will work as a responsible opposition party, allowing Biden to govern while extracting compromises. There is, sadly, little reason to hope that they will after eight years of obstruction under President Obama. But it’s possible that either their respect for Biden as one of their own or reading the writing on the wall will nudge them in that direction.

    I don’t think the “writing on the wall” says what you think it says. The message to Republicans from their base is Obstruct or Perish.

    The base holds the core belief that the Democrats are not only illegitimate, but an evil force bent on destruction of the country. Until this core belief is confronted head-on by a critical mass of Republicans, there will be no “responsible opposition party.” How could there be? Obviously, one can’t reason with Satan-worshipping pedophiles.

    28
  3. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    Our long national farce is over.

    Or proceeding apace, depending on how you look at it.

    11
  4. Sleeping Dog says:

    Well that’s big of him.

    4
  5. Michael Reynolds says:

    Will Republicans work with Biden to. . . No, I can’t even finish that absurd thought.

    @James the purpose of the Republican Party is to crush minorities by any means necessary, to keep women on the lower rungs of the ladder, to hold onto power by any means necessary, to kill democracy, feed the most vile billionaires and protect the corrupt. On what, exactly, would they cooperate with Democrats?

    19
  6. EddieInCA says:

    I am watching excitedly as Trump continues depressing the expected GOP turnout for the GA Elections.

    On one hand, you have Stacey Abrams registering more people to vote, and working on getting out the vote while on the other, Trump, Lin Wood, and many others are telling GOP Voters to stay home.

    Ah… I hope it continues.

    15
  7. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    The Republican Senate got nothing done under Obama, and they got nothing done under Trump. Sure, they passed a standard boilerplate tax giveaway to the rich, and jammed thru some judges. Otherwise, bubkis.
    They are not interested in, or capable of, governing.

    12
  8. Kylopod says:

    @EddieInCA: I’m encouraged but skeptical. Sure, if you apply ordinary logic to the claim that the election was stolen, that should depress R turnout, because they’ll think, why bother. Now, that’s different than saying the election was “rigged” therefore why bother. A rigged election can in fact be overcome by voting in large numbers. After all, in objective reality US elections are rigged–against Democrats. Yet this situation can be overcome by high D voting, which is exactly what happened this year. But the R conspiracists aren’t just saying the election is rigged against them, they’re saying the votes they cast were outright changed to Democrat votes in a global conspiracy run by computer-wiz Hugo Chavez from beyond the grave. That sort of claim should be highly discouraging to R voters if they believe it. And yet I’m not sure that’s the way they see things at all. First of all, those who are down this rabbit hole probably still believe Trump will find a way to stay in office–heck, I’m betting that even after Biden is sworn in, many of them are going to claim Trump is still somehow secretly the president. So they’re not feeling discouraged at all–they feel invigorated by the fact that Trump is on his way to crushing Biden’s pathetic, ineffectual attempt to steal the election from him.

    All in all, you can’t apply logic to these people at all. Their thought processes go something like this: “Dems stole the election from a floppy disk in Venezuela! Now let’s go to the polls and crush ’em! MAGA booga!”

    7
  9. Kathy says:

    BTW, the next trending demand from the Orange Loser will be to boycott the inauguration.

    6
  10. David S. says:

    “The Electoral College has spoken.

    I like the phrasing. It’s very accurate, and calls attention to the fact that the EC is not The People.

    6
  11. HarvardLaw92 says:

    Off topic – Biden is set to announce Buttegieg as his nominee for Transportation Secretary.

    3
  12. gVOR08 says:

    This is a positive in that it seems to be a message from Moscow Mitch that a Congressional challenge to the EC votes would be bad politics and he won’t support it. Otherwise, it’s just bowing to the inevitable.

    This should be the end of this nonsense, at least from the official GOP.

    It may be the end of this episode, but it’s hardly the end of this nonsense from the official GOP. The GOPs will be using the Stolen Election myth to support vote suppression for years. And run on it and use it to reject Biden’s judicial nominees. Dr. K has a good column today on the GOPs rejection of facts.

    Notice, by the way, that I’m not including qualifiers, like saying “some” Republicans. We’re talking about most of the party here. …
    At this point, you aren’t considered a proper Republican unless you hate facts.
    But when and how did the G.O.P. get that way? If you think it started with Donald Trump and will end when he leaves the scene (if he ever does), you’re naïve.
    Republicans have been heading in this direction for decades. I’m not sure whether we can pinpoint the moment when the party began its descent into malignant madness, but the trajectory that led to this moment probably became irreversible under Ronald Reagan.

    Trump will go away. Does that really change anything?

    3
  13. Jen says:

    This horrible person doesn’t get a cookie for acknowledging the bloody obvious.

    There are few people in government I hold as much disdain for as I do Mitch McConnell. He’s deserving of every insult the Random Scottish Insult Generator serves up.

    5
  14. Not the IT Dept. says:

    Now do Obama’s elections, both of them.

    But from all us: Suck it, Yertl.

    1
  15. CSK says:

    @Jen:
    Thank you. I just sent that link to all my friends in Scotland.

    2
  16. Mister Bluster says:

    Will the real Mitch McConnell please stand up…

    Today
    “The president-elect is no stranger to the Senate. He’s devoted himself to public service for many years.”
    “I also want to congratulate the vice president-elect, our colleague from California, Sen. Harris,” McConnell said. “Beyond our differences, all Americans can take pride that our nation has a female vice president-elect for the very first time.”

    Oct. 2010
    The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.

    President Barack Obama was my Senator from Illinois 2005-2008.
    If McConnell ever gave him any kudos for that I must have missed it.

    Sit down Mitch.

    2
  17. grumpy realist says:

    @EddieInCA: You’ve also got President Trump convincing the marks to send money to HIM rather than directly to the two Republican candidates. Of which, I suspect, the candidates will see….zilch. But make sure you sign up to send President Trump $35 each month to make sure the candidates get elected!

    Hahahaha. I wonder what is going to happen when the RNC realises it’s now in a wrestling match with Trump over who gets to continue siphoning off that continuous stream of lovely, lovely loot? Trump won’t give up one cent, now that he’s found another set of people to con money out of. He’ll love to “run for office” for years, give all those lovely speeches before adoring crowds, and hey, losing just shows how much the stealing of the election is….he’ll continue to have his legal minions file crappy lawsuits and fulminate when they get thrown out again.

    It’s shadowboxing. It’s the only thing he knows how to do–sell the schtick to the gullible in exchange for money.

    7
  18. Kathy says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    I’m sure it has nothing to do with the relative quantities of melanin in Biden and Obama.

    2
  19. OzarkHillbilly says:

    But it’s possible that either their respect for Biden as one of their own or reading the writing on the wall will nudge them in that direction.

    How quickly we forget. Obama was one of their own too. Oh wait a minute… You meant “white straight male,” not Senator. My bad.

    5
  20. Fortunato says:

    @EddieInCA:

    I am watching excitedly as Trump continues depressing the expected GOP turnout for the GA Elections.

    I caught a couple minutes of Brian Kilmeade’s (Fox morning host) radio talk show this morning. His guest was a GA state GOP operative (sorry, didn’t catch his name) who said Stacy Abrams and the Dems are kicking ass and taking names in the Senate race. He said he’s had 3 door knocks, 2 phone calls and about 4 mailers from the Dems.
    Nothing from the Republicans.
    He also admitted Loeffler left a big stinking pile on the stage in her recent (only) televised debate with Warnock. (cowardly Perdue refused to even debate Ossoff).
    fwiw – He predicted Loeffler would lose and Perdue would squeak out a victory.

    1
  21. Fortunato says:

    @grumpy realist:
    Too funny.
    The party of Grifting Obtuse People is mad as hell that it’s getting out-grifted by Team Dotard.

    2
  22. Kathy says:

    @grumpy realist:

    About the only thing that would make the Republicans dump Trump, is if he began to seriously hurt their fundraising. What’s a party without money?

    3
  23. JohnSF says:

    Reason for this is pretty obvious.
    The next Trump play is to try for a “contested election” in Congress.

    Hence the nonsense re. “alternate electors” in some states yesterday; a tissue thin issue for a congressman or senator, and a cudgel for Trump to use to beat on the more rational politicians, and keep the fund raising bandwagon rolling along.
    After all, Christmas is the time for grifts.

    McConnell, not being an idiot, can see that this Trump ploy will get nowhere, because it requires a vote to reject a electoral college slate-vote (on a state by state basis, if I understand things correctly).
    And the House won’t be up for this game.
    (Probably not even a majority in the Senate, given circumstances)

    So, if the Senate is forced to vote on such Trumpkin lunacy, it looks really stupid, which a lot of Senators (and likely a fair number of more sober donors) won’t like, and puts GOP Senators between the frying pan and the fire.
    Vote for Trumpery, lose anyway, look like a clown, and alienate centrist votes.
    And centrist votes are significant; the election results indicate a significant number of voters went for Biden but also for Republicans in Congress.
    Vote against the Trump line, and the face the wrath of Trump and the MAGA mob.

    Best way out is to try to dodge any vote at all; as he probably can’t stop some loon in House moving an objection, he needs to shut it down in the Senate.
    Assuming this is his strategy, how McConnell intends to leverage all Republican Senators to obedience is the question.

    Could the GOP descent into full scale internal warfare before 6 January?

    1
  24. Kylopod says:

    @Fortunato: If you held a gun to my head my prediction would be that both seats will remain in R hands. But it’s very up in the air, and a split is certainly plausible, mostly based on Loeffler being unelected. Here are some of the good signs:

    1) Loeffler is an amazingly uncharismatic robot. It’s not so much that Warnock destroyed her at the debate as that she destroyed herself.

    2) I believe the stock-trading scandal, which didn’t get much attention before Nov. 3, has legs.

    3) Biden already won the state, which in itself should be a way of invigorating Dems. Many Dems were more equivocal about going all in when winning Georgia was still just a dream.

    4) I believe Dems have learned some lessons from the underwhelming results in November and are prepared to do more on-the-ground campaigning.

    5) Despite my skepticism, it is indeed possible that the stolen-election narrative and the “boycott the runoffs” meme we’ve been hearing could wind up suppressing the R vote.

    6) Although the Nov polls across the nation were generally quite bad, the ones in Georgia were reasonably accurate. So if the current polls show the candidates neck and neck, they probably are.

    Here are some negatives:

    1) Even after Perdue got his ass handed to him in a debate and ran away like the chicken he is, he still managed to beat Ossoff, just a hair short of a majority–this from the same electorate that gave the state to Biden, suggesting Perdue managed to escape the taint of Trump in the minds of many voters.

    2) Dems are assuming Biden’s victory rested on good black turnout, and that winning the runoffs means working on that turnout. But according to exit polls, blacks were a slightly smaller share of the electorate than in 2016, and the main thing that changed was that white voters moved toward Biden. While that isn’t intrinsically a bad thing, a strong possibility is that what drove Biden’s victory was suburban disgust with Trump by people who aren’t sold on Dems in general.

    3) History suggests Southern runoffs favor Republicans due to a general drop in turnout.

    4) They’re upping the vote-suppression which is already a factor.

    5) They’re doing the usual racist crap against Warnock, which they do because, to a large extent, it works. And that may be the reason they failed to beat Biden.

    6) There are additional problems in polling a runoff compared with a regular election, due to the drop in turnout.

    3
  25. DrDaveT says:

    McConnell Congratulates Biden and Harris

    In journalistic terminology, does this headline fall in the category “Man stops biting dog”?

  26. Jax says:

    @Kylopod: I still remain shocked that Ossoff had to go down to a runoff against…..Perdue. I watched that debate, he did everything right, and Perdue was every bit as dumb as Republicans tend to be in this day and age, he even refused to debate again….and yet it was THAT close. WHY?! What am I not seeing about Ossoff that’s turning voters off about him?

    2
  27. Kylopod says:

    @Jax: Well Ossoff’s very young, and I definitely think that nose ad was deliberate, but at the end of the day I don’t think there’s anything in particular about him that’s turning off Georgia voters. We need to keep in mind that it’s Georgia, it may be trending blue but it’s still a state with a lot of Republicans, and most votes are simply baked in. Biden was able to eke out a victory on the strength of anti-Trumpism, but it wasn’t quite strong enough to work downballot, where it simply reverted to the mean—which let’s be clear is still competitive and getting better for Dems the more time goes by, but it’s not yet crossed that threshold.

    3
  28. Kathy says:

    @Kylopod:

    1) Loeffler is an amazingly uncharismatic robot. It’s not so much that Warnock destroyed her at the debate as that she destroyed herself.

    Really? That doesn’t seem to fit. I mean, yes, the Third law says a robot must protect its own existence, but only if that doesn’t conflict with the First or Second laws. The First law is that a robot may not harm a human being, or through inaction allow a human being to come to harm, and she’s failed miserably at that.

    2
  29. SC_Birdflyte says:

    Since I live close to the Georgia border, I get a full ration of political crap, the overwhelming majority from the Republicans. Loeffler seems to have adopted a strategy of painting Warnock as a dangerous radical, while Perdue is flat-out lying. It’s depressing to see how many people believe them.

  30. inhumans99 says:

    So apparently Trump finally got around to complaining on Twitter about McConnell congratulating Biden and Kamala Harris. Trump’s tweet is even weirder than usual because he seems to be saying that getting 70 something million voters means that he received more votes than Biden who received 80 something million votes. I kid you not when I say that I think Trump does not understand that 8 is a higher number than 7. The man is clearly experiencing some serious cognitive decay in his head.

    No need to explain why he thinks his number is higher than Biden’s because I am well aware that he is seeing everything through the lens of Obama, as long as his number of voters was higher than Obama’s he believes he should be declared the winner of the election…such bizarre thoughts in that mans’ head.

    The man is pretty much clinically nuts for thinking this and I continue to ask…the GOP continues to cover for this man, why?

    Hey, I got an edit button but some typos may have still slipped through the cracks.

  31. Mikey says:

    @inhumans99:

    Trump’s tweet is even weirder than usual because he seems to be saying that getting 70 something million voters means that he received more votes than Biden who received 80 something million votes. I kid you not when I say that I think Trump does not understand that 8 is a higher number than 7.

    It’s not that, it’s just he doesn’t consider the votes of Black people as valid. So he throws them all out and therefore he has more votes than Biden.