‘Refused to respect the people’: Biden rips Trump’s election challenge in speech marking Electoral College win

Incoming president calls defeated rival’s claims of a 'rigged election’ nothing shy of 'unconscionable’

John T. Bennett
Washington Bureau Chief
Tuesday 15 December 2020 07:25
Electoral College certifies Joe Biden as president-elect with 306 votes
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Joe Biden, addressing the country shortly after state electors declared him president-elect, blasted Donald Trump for mounting an “extreme” and “unprecedented assault on our democracy.”

A sometimes-emotional and forceful incoming president called Mr Trump’s claims of a "rigged election" nothing shy of “unconscionable,” saying in a short speech from Wilmington, Delaware that the Electoral College vote on Monday making him the winner showed the 2020 election was “honest, and it was free and it fair.”

He hailed state and local officials who endured death and other threats of violence from Mr Trump’s supporters. “And they wouldn’t be bullied. It was truly remarkable.” Mr Biden said.

Notably, the president-elect and former Senate Judiciary Committee chairman – himself a lawyer by training – noted the outgoing president was allowed “every legal avenue” to pursue his claims of fraud.

But the matter, he said, has been “resolved through the legal process, and that’s precisely what happened here.” His use of the past tense appeared an attempt to describe the election as a closed matter, seeming to contend that Mr Trump has expended his use of the courts and is out of options – other than to return to civilian life on 20 January.

“They were heard, again and again. And each time they were heard, they were found to be without merit,” Mr Biden said of the president’s legal challenges. “More than 80 judges across this country” heard the cases, “and in in every case, no evidence was found.”

He described Mr Tump as taking a “position so extreme, we’ve never seen it before."

The president, he contended “refused to respect the people, refused to respect the rule of law” and orchestrated an “unprecedented assault on our democracy.”

Mr Biden spoke after clearing a major milestone in his transition, from the same rented theatre he has used for public remarks since being projected as the next commander in chief four days after Election Day. Designees to the Electoral College met on Monday to assign their state's Electoral College votes, ballots based on ones cast by voters either by mail or in-person.

California's presidential electors officially made Joe Biden the president-elect in the 5 o'clock hour in Washington, casting the state's 55 Electoral College votes for the former vice president. California's haul of 55 votes pushed Mr Biden over the 270 needed to become president-elect. Before California's electors voted, My Biden stood at 247 votes. 

Once their work was done, he had 302, well over the threshold of victory. He eventually reached the 306 mark.Each state in which Mr Trump and his legal team filed lawsuits seeking to have millions of ballots invalidated in a push to get him over the 270-vote threshold needed to win awarded theirs to Mr Biden. That list included Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Mr Biden used his primetime address to again declare the election over and call for unity even as Donald Trump continues challenges to the legality of millions of ballots he wants thrown out. 

"If anyone didn't know it before, we know it now. What beats deep in the hearts of the American people is this: democracy. The right to be heard. To have your vote counted. To choose the leaders of this nation. To govern ourselves," Mr Biden said. "In America, politicians don't take power – the people grant it to them," he added. "We the people voted. Faith in our institutions held. The integrity of our elections remains intact. And so, now it is time to turn the page. To unite. To heal." 

But even as the electors handed the victory to Mr Biden, the president and his team continued to fight. 

They have ongoing lawsuits, and even are trying an end run around states’ lawful Electoral College designees. "The only date in the Constitution is Jan. 20. So we have more than enough time to right the wrong of this fraudulent election result and certify Donald Trump as the winner of the election," White House domestic policy adviser Stephen Miller told Fox & Friends.  

"As we speak, today, an alternate slate of electors in the contested states is going to vote and we're going to send those results up to Congress," he added. "This will ensure that all of our legal remedies remain open. That means that if we win these cases in the courts, that we can direct that the alternate state of electors be certified." 

That echoed what his boss told the network on Saturday during an interview before the annual Army-Navy college football game. 

"No, it's not over. We keep going and we're going to continue to go forward. We have numerous local cases," Mr Trump said. "We're going to speed it up as much as we can, but you can only go so fast," he added, acknowledging he and his legal team are running out of time. "They give us very little time. But we caught them, as you know, as fraudulent, dropping ballots, doing so many things, nobody can even believe it."

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