WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell congratulated Democrat Joe Biden on Tuesday, calling him the president-elect and saying the Electoral College “has spoken.”
The Republican leader’s statement, delivered in a speech on the Senate floor, ends weeks of silence over President Donald Trump’s defeat. It comes after electors met Monday and affirmed Biden’s election win.
“Our country has officially a president-elect and a vice president-elect,” the Kentucky Republican said.
McConnell prefaced his remarks with praise for Trump’s four years in office, saying Trump and Vice President Mike Pence “deserve our thanks.”
“Many of us had hoped the presidential election would yield a different result,” McConnell said. “But our system of government has the processes to determine who will be sworn in on Jan. 20. The Electoral College has spoken.”
It also follows a groundswell of leading Republicans saying Monday that Biden is the winner of the presidential election, abandoning Trump’s election challenges.
McConnell was quiet on the issue Monday, but a number of senators said the time had come.
Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri, the chairman of the inaugural committee, said the panel will now “deal with Vice President Biden as the president-elect.”
Texas GOP Sen. John Cornyn said barring further legal challenges it appears Biden will be president.
“That’s sort of the nature of these elections. You got to have a winner. You got to have a loser,” Cornyn said, adding that once Trump’s legal arguments are exhausted, “Joe Biden’s on a path to be president of the United States.”
The turnaround comes nearly six weeks after Election Day. Many Republicans have ridden out the time, enabling Trump to wage challenges to the nation’s system of voting.
Some GOP lawmakers have vowed to carry the fight to Jan. 6 when Congress votes to accept or reject the Electoral College results. Others have said Trump’s legal battles should continue toward resolution by Inauguration Day on Jan. 20.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said Monday that it’s as if Biden has to win “again and again and again” before Republicans will accept it.
This story is developing. Refresh for updates.
The Associated Press contributed to this report