“It’s time to turn the page,” President-elect Joe Biden told fellow American on Monday (December 15), after the Electoral College affirmed his victory over President Donald Trump, who till now has refused to concede defeat.
The 538-member Electoral College on Monday pushed Biden past the 270-vote threshold to win the bitterly-contested race for the White House. It was one of the crucial steps required for the 78-year-old Democrat to take office on January 20 as the 46th US President.
In a speech from his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware after the announcement of his victory in the election, Biden said the US democracy had been “pushed, tested and threatened” and “proved to be resilient, true and strong”.
In a dig at Trump, he said “The rule of law, our Constitution and the will of the people prevailed”.
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“The flame of democracy was lit in this nation a long time ago. And we now know nothing, not even a pandemic or an abuse of power, can extinguish that flame,” Biden said. “In this battle for the soul of America, democracy prevailed. 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,” he added.
Earlier in the day, leading Republicans named Biden the winner of the Presidential election, for the first time. This is being read as the Republicans’ abandonment of Trump’s allegations of a botched-up elections.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., was quiet on the issue Monday. But a number of senators said the time has come to move on. “At some point you have to face the music,” said Senator John Thune of South Dakota, the second-ranking GOP leader. “Once the Electoral College settles the issue today, it’s time for everybody to move on.” Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri, the chairman of the inaugural committee, told PTI that the panel will now deal with Vice President Biden as the president-elect. Just last week, the Republicans on the inauguration committee had declined to publicly do so.
Under the US system, voters actually cast their ballots for electors, who in turn, formally vote for candidates weeks after the presidential election. Biden won the November 3 election with 306 electoral college votes to incumbent Republican President Trump’s 232.
The Electoral College votes will now be sent to Congress to be counted formally next month. Though some House Republicans have indicated they will object to the results in key states, they can do little more than delay the process during a joint session of Congress on January 6.
(With inputs from agencies)