Top Republicans urge Trump to give up
Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell has publicly acknowledged Joe Biden as the President-elect for the first time following the electoral college vote on Monday.
"I want to congratulate President-elect Joe Biden," Mr McConnell said in a speech on the Senate floor on Tuesday.
"Many of us had hoped the presidential election would yield a different result. But our system of government has the processes to determine who will be sworn in on January 20. The electoral college has spoken."
The Kentucky Senator's official acknowledgment of Mr Biden's win comes after weeks of silence, and a day after the electoral college met in each state to formally lock in the former Vice President's 306-232 victory over President Donald Trump.
"Beyond our differences, all Americans can take pride that our nation has a female Vice President-elect for the very first time," he said.
Privately, the Kentucky Senator has also reportedly urged his colleagues not to go along with a plan by some House members to object to their state's electoral results when the Congress meets for a joint session on January 6 to tally the results.
The plan has been pushed by Alabama Republican Congressman Mo Brooks, but any challenge would need at least one House member and one Senator to force a vote.
Congressional Challenge: @RepMoBrooks calls out the GOP’s Surrender Caucus, who refuse to join in with his plan to challenge fraudulent electoral college votes. #MAGA #AmericaFirst #Dobbs pic.twitter.com/G4WLPSrvOO— Lou Dobbs (@LouDobbs) December 14, 2020
"This is not unusual, the law is very clear," Mr Brooks told Fox News.
"The House of Representatives in combination with the Senate has the lawful authority to accept or reject electoral college votes from states that have such flawed electoral systems that they're not worthy of our trust."
On a private conference call, Mr McConnell reportedly urged Senators not to join in the plan as it would force a vote where Republicans would have to go against Mr Trump.
According to Politico, Mr McConnell said it would be a "terrible vote". CNN reported that no Senators pushed back during the call.
It comes after a growing number of Republican Senators began to acknowledge Mr Biden's victory.
"I understand there are people who feel strongly about the outcome of this election," South Dakota Senator John Thune, the number two Republican, told Politico on Monday.
"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, it's time for everybody to move on."
Texas Senator John Cornyn said the plan to force a vote challenging the results would be a "bad mistake".
"There comes a time when you have to realise that despite your best efforts, you've been unsuccessful," he said.
"You've got to have a winner and you've got to have a loser. So I think once the President's legal arguments … are exhausted, then certainly Joe Biden is on the path to the next president of the United States."
Others including South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, a key Trump ally, have said the President should continue to fight up until inauguration day on January 20.
"It's a very, very narrow path for the president," Mr Graham said. "But having said that, I think we'll let those legal challenges play out."
Control of the Senate during the Biden administration will hinge on the outcome of two crucial run-off election in Georgia on January 5.
If the two Republican incumbents lose, the Senate will be locked at 50-50 with Vice President Kamala Harris having the tie-breaking vote, handing Democrats an effective majority.
As he left Wilmington, Delaware to campaign for the two Democrat candidates in Georgia, Mr Biden told reporters he had spoken to Mr McConnell to thank him for the speech and that they had a "good conversation".
"We agreed to get together sooner than later," Mr Biden said.
After Mr McConnell's speech, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said "enough is enough" and that Mr Trump should "end his term with a modicum of grace and dignity".
Tremendous evidence pouring in on voter fraud. There has never been anything like this in our Country!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 15, 2020
It came as Mr Trump on Tuesday continued to rail against the election results.
"Tremendous evidence pouring in on voter fraud," he tweeted. "There has never been anything like this in our country!"
He also shared an ominous post online suggesting two Republican leaders in Georgia who resisted his calls for a signature audit of absentee ballots "will soon be going to jail".
The President's bid to overturn the election through legal avenues suffered its biggest blow to date on Friday, with the Supreme Court tossing out a lawsuit brought by Texas against the swing states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Georgia.
Asked at a media conference on Tuesday afternoon whether Mr Trump should accept the results, Mr McConnell said he didn't have "any advice to give the President on the subject".
"I said this morning, for me, and I think on the basis of the way the system works, the decision by the electoral college yesterday was determinative," he said.
Originally published as Top Republicans urge Trump to give up