Republican ‘Complicity’ With Trump ‘Endangers America’ – House Speaker

In this file photo taken on December 3, 2020 US President Donald Trump speaks before awarding the Presidential Medal of Freedom to retired football coach Lou Holtz in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC. Brendan Smialowski / AFP
In this file photo taken on December 3, 2020 US President Donald Trump speaks before awarding the Presidential Medal of Freedom to retired football coach Lou Holtz in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC. Brendan Smialowski / AFP

 

The top Democrat in the US House of Representatives accused Republicans on Monday of endangering America by blocking moves to immediately remove President Donald Trump from office.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi slammed Republican lawmakers for blocking a resolution introduced by Democrats calling on Vice President Mike Pence and the cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment of the Constitution and remove Trump from the White House.

READ ALSO: Trump Twitter Ban Problematic, Says Merkel

“The House Republicans rejected this legislation to protect America, enabling the president’s unhinged, unstable and deranged acts of sedition to continue,” Pelosi said in a statement.

“Their complicity endangers America, erodes our democracy, and it must end.”

 

File photo: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) presides over Resolution 755 as the House of Representatives votes on the second article of impeachment of US President Donald Trump at in the House Chamber at the US Capitol Building on December 18, 2019 in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/AFP

 

The move came after a violent mob, egged on in a speech and social media posts by Trump, stormed the US Capitol last week as lawmakers were certifying Joe Biden’s election victory over Trump.

“On Wednesday, the President incited a deadly insurrection against America that targeted the very heart of our Democracy,” Pelosi said.

“The president represents an imminent threat to our constitution, our country and the American people, and he must be removed from office immediately,” she added.

Pelosi said a vote would be held in the House on Tuesday on the demand by Democrats that Pence invoke the 25th Amendment and remove Trump from office.

“We are further calling on the Vice President to respond within 24 hours after passage,” she said.

“As our next step, we will move forward with bringing impeachment legislation to the floor,” the speaker of the Democratic-controlled House said.

“The president’s threat to America is urgent, and so too will be our action.”

AFP

 

Biden Urged To Renounce Sole Control Of US Nuclear Weapons

US President-elect Joe Biden delivers a Thanksgiving address at the Queen Theatre in Wilmington, Delaware, on November 25, 2020. CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP
File photo: US President-elect Joe Biden delivers a Thanksgiving address at the Queen Theatre in Wilmington, Delaware, on November 25, 2020. CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP

 

A former US defense secretary has called on President-elect Joe Biden to reform the system that gives sole control of the nation’s nuclear arsenal to the president, calling it “outdated, unnecessary and extremely dangerous.”

The call from William Perry came the same day US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke with the nation’s top military leader about ensuring that an “unhinged” President Donald Trump not be able to launch a nuclear attack in his final days in office.

“Once in office, Biden should announce he would share authority to use nuclear weapons with a select group in Congress,” said Perry, who served under President Bill Clinton.

He was writing in Politico magazine with Tom Collina of the Ploughshares Fund, which advocates for stronger nuclear controls.

READ ALSO: Facebook And Twitter Block Trump’s Account For Breaking Rules

They said Biden, who takes office January 20, should also declare that the United States will never start a nuclear war and would use the bomb only in retaliation.

The piece argues that the current system gives the president — any president — “the godlike power to deliver global destruction in an instant,” an approach the authors call “undemocratic, outdated, unnecessary and extremely dangerous.”

Perry, who was defense minister from 1994 to 1997, calls Trump “unhinged” and adds, “Do we really think that Trump is responsible enough to trust him with the power to end the world?”

American presidents are accompanied at all times by a military aide who carries a briefcase known as “the football” which contains the secret codes and information needed to launch a nuclear strike.

Perry and Collina warn that presidents possess the “absolute authority to start a nuclear war.

“Within minutes, Trump can unleash hundreds of atomic bombs, or just one. He does not need a second opinion. The Defense secretary has no say. Congress has no role.”

They then ask: “Why are we taking this risk?”

Such vast presidential authority, the article notes, dates from the waning days of World War II, when president Harry Truman decided, after the nuclear horror unleashed by the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan, that the power to order the use of atomic weapons should not be left in the hands of the military — that it should be up to the president alone.

AFP

Learn From Events Of US Election, PDP Tells APC

Ex-Adamawa Deputy Governor Tahir Dumps PDP For APC
A photo combination of the PDP and APC logos.

 

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called on the All Progressives Congress (APC) to take a cue from the events of the United States presidential election.

In a statement on Friday by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, the party believes the triumph of democratic institutions in the handling of issues related to the poll has again highlighted the demands by Nigerians on the Muhammadu Buhari administration to allow the institutions of democracy to function.

It noted that the US election was a strong lesson to “corrupt and power-drunk leaders” that no matter the desperate attempt to manipulate the system, the will of the people and the Constitution would always prevail.

The main opposition party asserted that the insistence of the US judiciary and the legislature on the provisions of their nation’s Constitution has reinforced the triumph of the collective will of a people through their system.

It alleged that Nigeria’s institutions of democracy, including the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies, were manipulated in the 2019 general elections.

The PDP, however, stated that the US experience has strengthened the determination by Nigerians to stand up against any manipulation ahead of the 2023 polls.

It called on Nigerians, including those in INEC, the judiciary, the legislature, security forces, and faith-based organisations, among others to join the movement to reposition and strengthen the nation’s institutions for the task ahead.

The statement read,

It is instructive to state that this is the only way to reposition our nation on the path of good governance, political stability, national cohesion, and economic prosperity.

There is no overstressing the fact that for the strong institutions put in place by patriotic leaders of the United States, that nation would have been thrown into terrible turmoil or succumb to a chaotic order that would have no regard for the law and the will of the people,” the party said.

Our party, therefore, urges the Buhari Presidency to check all acts that weaken our institutions and encourage the manipulation of our security, judiciary, legislative and electoral bodies.

Mr President should take steps to ensure reforms that would strengthen our system, including ending all acts of nepotism in appointments into such sensitive institutions.

The American example equally underpins the demand for public officers, particularly the APC leadership in the National Assembly, to begin to pay greater loyalty to our country and her interest over the parochial interest of their party or the executive arm.

The patriotism displayed by American Senate Leader, Mitch McConnell, in rejecting the attempt to undermine their nation’s electoral system is a direct call on APC leaders in the National Assembly against the unpatriotic practice of putting narrow partisan interests above the national interest.

Moreover, the APC must stop being a community of people with common selfish interests and desperation for personal enrichment, who are not ready to stand up for the truth in the face of acts of injustice, deprivation and callousness against the Nigerians people and our constitutional order.

US Unrest Is A ‘Disgrace For Democracy’ – Turkish President Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan makes a speech after cabinet meeting at Presidential Complex in Ankara on November 3, 2020. Adem ALTAN / AFP
File photo: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan makes a speech after cabinet meeting at Presidential Complex in Ankara on November 3, 2020. Adem ALTAN / AFP

 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday called the storming of the US Congress by Donald Trump’s supporters a disgrace that has “shocked humankind”.

Erdogan had developed a close personal friendship with the outgoing US leader and had waited three days before congratulating Joe Biden over his November 3 presidential election win.

READ ALSO: US Education Secretary Resigns From Trump’s Cabinet

But he pulled no punched in condemning what happened on Wednesday in, as Erdogan put it, “the so-called cradle of democracy”.

“This is a disgrace for democracy,” Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul.

“We hope that the transition to Mr Biden on January 20 will be peaceful and that America will go back to being at peace.”

Erdogan also extended condolences to the families of those who died in the violence.

Ankara’s relations with Washington suffered from a failed 2016 coup attempt against Erdogan that he blames on a US Muslim preacher Turkey has unsuccessfully sought to extradite.

But Erdogan’s friendship with Trump has helped shield Turkey from past sanctions and also muted US criticism of Erdogan’s deteriorating record on human rights.

Erdogan’s comments Friday represented one of his strongest repudiations to date of the Trump administration.

The Turkish foreign ministry had issued a more muted statement late Wednesday urging the US to “overcome this internal political crisis in a mature manner”.

AFP

US President-Elect Biden Names Economic Team

File photo: President-elect Joe Biden delivers a Thanksgiving address at the Queen Theatre on November 25, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware. Mark Makela/Getty Images/AFP

 

US President-elect Joe Biden on Thursday unveiled his picks for commerce secretary, labor secretary and small business administrator to fill his incoming economics team.

The transition named Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo, Boston Mayor Martin Walsh and former Obama official Isabel Guzman as nominees for the three positions, respectively.

“With two dozen cabinet nominees announced, President-elect Biden has put forward the most diverse cabinet in American history,” the Biden team said in a statement.

Biden had already revealed choices for part of his economic team in early December, composed mostly of women, minorities and those who had served under former president Barack Obama.

Most notable was former Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen as treasury secretary.

“They share my belief that the middle class built this country and that unions built the middle class,” Biden said of the group he has assembled, according to the statement.

The new officials’ priority will be “digging us out from the worst jobs crisis in nearly a century by supporting small businesses, dramatically increasing union density, and rebuilding the backbone of America — our middle class,” the transition’s statement said.

READ ALSO: US Education Secretary Resigns From Trump’s Cabinet

Last spring, the Covid-19 pandemic triggered the worst financial crisis since 1929, with millions of Americans losing their jobs or seeing their hours cut.

US President-elect Joe Biden speaks after a meeting with governors in Wilmington, Delaware, on November 19, 2020.(Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP)

 

 

If her nomination is confirmed by the Senate, Raimondo would take on business-government relations, handling issues such as trade wars instigated by outgoing President Donald Trump and how to regulate tech giants.

Walsh would be the first union leader to head the Department of Labor in 50 years, according to the Biden statement, and would take on such tasks as reviewing working conditions disrupted by the pandemic.

AFP

Trump Pledges ‘Orderly Transition’ After Congress Affirmed Biden’s Win

File photo: US President Donald Trump delivers an update on “Operation Warp Speed” in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC on November 13, 2020. MANDEL NGAN / AFP

 

Outgoing US President Donald Trump on Thursday offered the clearest signal yet that he will voluntarily leave office on January 20, saying there will be an “orderly transition” to Joe Biden’s presidency.

“Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th,” Trump said in a statement minutes after the US Congress formally certified Biden’s victory.

READ ALSO: Former US Presidents Denounce Capitol Violence

“While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it’s only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again,” he added, hinting at a potential 2024 run.

AFP

US Congress Certifies Joe Biden As Winner Of Presidential Election Despite Mob Violence

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden gestures after speaking during election night at the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware, early on November 4, 2020. ANGELA WEISS / AFP
File photo: President-elect Joe Biden gestures after speaking during election night at the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware, early on November 4, 2020. ANGELA WEISS / AFP

 

The US Congress on Thursday certified Joe Biden’s win in November’s presidential election, hours after President Trump’s supporters laid siege on the Capitol on Wednesday.

Republican Vice President Mike Pence certified the Electoral College count of 306 electors in favor of the Democrat against 232 in favor of outgoing Republican President Donald Trump.

Lawmakers in the Senate and House of Representatives successfully beat back Republican efforts to deny Biden the electoral votes needed to win, prompting loud cheers when the certification was announced.

READ ALSO: Former US Presidents Denounce Capitol Violence

The affirmation of Biden’s 306-232 victory over Trump in November essentially closes the door on the unparalleled and deeply controversial effort by Trump and his loyalists to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

 

Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi preside over a Joint session of Congress to certify the 2020 Electoral College results after supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol earlier in the day on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on January 6, 2020. Erin Schaff / POOL / AFP

 

The president immediately released a statement pledging an “orderly transition” but suggesting he would remain in frontline politics, amid speculation that he may run again in 2024.

“Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th,” he said.

“I have always said we would continue our fight to ensure that only legal votes were counted. While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it’s only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again!”

The certification came hours after a mob breached the US Capitol and sent lawmakers scrambling for safety. They were able to return hours later, shaken but determined to complete the task.

Egged on in an extraordinary rally across town by an aggrieved Trump, a flag-waving mob had broken down barricades outside the Capitol and swarmed inside, rampaging through offices and onto the usually solemn legislative floors.

Security forces fired tear gas in a four-hour operation to clear the Capitol. Police said that one woman, reportedly a female Trump partisan from southern California, was shot and killed and that three other people died in the area in circumstances that were unclear.

One Trump backer in jeans and a baseball cap was pictured propping a leg up on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s desk, as throngs climbed onto risers set up for Biden’s inauguration.

 

Protesters gather outside the U.S. Capitol Building on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. Pro-Trump protesters entered the U.S. Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images/AFP

 

Another held a banner that read: “We the people will bring DC to its knees/We have the power.”

Biden called the violence an “insurrection” and demanded that Trump immediately go on national television to tell the rioters to stand down.

“Our democracy’s under unprecedented assault,” Biden said in his home state of Delaware.

“This is not dissent. It’s disorder. It’s chaos. It borders on sedition. And it must end now.”

Trump soon afterward released a video in which he called on the mob to leave but repeated his unfounded claims of election fraud.

“We have to have peace. So go home. We love you — you’re very special,” he said.

In a significant new crackdown, social media companies pulled down the video on charges it aggravated violence and Twitter temporarily suspended his account, warning the tweet-loving tycoon of a permanent ban if he does not conform to rules on civic integrity.

– Democracy ‘death spiral’ –
The chaos at the Capitol came a day after Biden enjoyed a new triumph, with his Democrats projected to win two Senate seats in runoffs in Georgia — handing the party full control of Congress and dramatically increasing Biden’s ability to pass legislation, starting with new Covid-19 relief.

 

Supporters of US President Donald Trump protest outside the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC. ALEX EDELMAN / AFP

 

Historians said it was the first time that the Capitol had been taken over since 1814 when the British burned it during the War of 1812.

For more than two centuries, the joint session of Congress has been a quiet, ceremonial event that formally certifies the election winner.

But Trump urged members of his Republican Party to dispute the outcome.

Congress rejected challenges to Biden’s win in Arizona and Pennsylvania. Efforts were made to challenge the counts in Georgia, Michigan, Nevada and Wisconsin, but after the mob violence Senate Republicans dropped objections to Biden’s wins there, eliminating any need for debate.

Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell, closely aligned with Trump throughout his presidency, had tried to prevent the challenges. He noted that the election results were not even close, and that dozens of courts had thrown out lawsuits alleging irregularities.

“If this election were overturned by mere allegations from the losing side, our democracy would enter a death spiral,” McConnell said.

But Senator Josh Hawley, who has taken the lead on the effort and is seen as a future Republican presidential aspirant, insisted on going ahead even after the mob attack.

“Violence is not how you achieve change,” the 41-year-old senator said, insisting that he wanted to offer a “lawful process” to Trump supporters to assess their unfounded claims of fraud.

– ‘Everlasting shame’ –
Senator Mitt Romney, one of Trump’s most vocal critics inside the Republican Party, pointedly said that the best way to respect voters “is to tell them the truth.”

“Those who continue to support this dangerous gambit,” Romney said, “will forever be seen as being complicit in an unprecedented attack against our democracy.”

With Democrats already in control of the House of Representatives, there was never any chance that Congress would overturn Biden’s victory.

Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer, who is set to become majority leader after Tuesday’s election victories, described the violence as an attempted coup and said it would be remembered in US history much like the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

“This mob was in good part President Trump’s doing, incited by his words, his lies,” Schumer said, adding that Trump would bear “everlasting shame.”

Former president Barack Obama called the violence “a moment of great dishonor and shame for our nation.”

“But we’d be kidding ourselves if we treated it as a total surprise,” Obama said, adding that it was “incited” by Trump, “who has continued to baselessly lie about the outcome of a lawful election.”

Former president George W. Bush also did not mince words, saying: “This is how election results are disputed in a banana republic — not our democratic republic.”

– Calls to remove Trump –
Trump has only two weeks left in office but, with little on his public schedule for weeks and multiple reports he is losing his grip on reality, several news reports said his cabinet was whispering about removing him as unfit for office under the 25th Amendment to the Constitution.

“President Trump’s willingness to incite violence and social unrest to overturn the election results by force clearly meet this standard,” all Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee wrote in a letter to Vice President Mike Pence.

In an angry, rambling speech outside the White House before the violence, Trump urged his supporters to march to the Capitol and demanded that Pence, who ceremonially led the session, intervene to reverse their loss.

The vice president refused, and it was ultimately Pence standing before the joint session of Congress who announced his and Trump’s loss to Biden and incoming Vice President Kamala Harris.

Thousands of Trump supporters headed to Washington at his urging in recent days, with downtown businesses boarding up in fear of violence and Mayor Muriel Bowser ordering a curfew Wednesday night.

AFP

Leaked Audiotape: Outrage Over Trump’s Request To ‘Find’ Votes For Him In Georgia

President Donald Trump

The release on Sunday by US media of a stunning audiotape in which President Donald Trump pressured Georgia’s secretary of state to “find” enough votes to overturn his election defeat there to Democrat Joe Biden sent shockwaves across Washington.

The tape, a rebel push by scores of Republican lawmakers to challenge Biden’s electoral win later this week, a pair of runoff elections in Georgia to decide control of the US Senate and expected pro-Trump protests in Washington are combining to set the stage for a fiery week in American politics.

Lawmakers got back to work Sunday on Capitol Hill, where Democrat Nancy Pelosi was narrowly reelected as speaker of the House of Representatives, but the real political fireworks are to come later in the week.

READ ALSO: About 100 Killed In Niger Republic After Attack On Two Villages

Following the release of the recording, Democrats and a few Republicans heaped scorn on the outgoing president, who fired off a tweetstorm of unsubstantiated claims of fraud in the November 3 election.

The taped conversation between Trump and fellow Republican Brad Raffensperger, first obtained by The Washington Post, includes vague threats by Trump that Raffensperger and another official could face “a big risk” if they failed to take moves toward overturning Biden’s victory.

“There’s nothing wrong with saying, you know, um, that you’ve recalculated” the vote tally, Trump is heard saying on the tape. “You’re off by hundreds of thousands of votes.”

Raffensperger is heard responding: “Well, Mr. President, the challenge that you have is, the data you have is wrong.”

Biden won the long Republican-leaning state by fewer than 12,000 votes — a narrow margin, but one that has remained unchanged through a series of recounts and audits.

“The current margin is only 11,779. Brad, I think you agree with that, right?” Trump says. “So look. All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes.”

Making Trump’s call more surprising is the fact that even a hypothetical reversal in Georgia, which has 16 Electoral College votes, would not overturn victory by Biden, who won by a margin of 306 to 232.

Ahead of the release of the audio, Trump tweeted about the call, saying that Raffensperger “was unwilling, or unable, to answer questions such as the ‘ballots under table’ scam, ballot destruction, out of state ‘voters’, dead voters, and more.”

Raffensperger tweeted back, also ahead of the release of the audio, saying: “Respectfully, President Trump: What you’re saying is not true. The truth will come out.”

After the release, the White House declined to comment.

Democrats reacted furiously.

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris slammed it as “the voice of desperation” and a “bald-faced, bold abuse of power by the President of the United States” during a rally in Savannah, Georgia.

One moderate Republican, Congressman Adam Kinzinger, tweeted: “This is absolutely appalling. To every member of Congress considering objecting to the election results, you cannot — in light of this — do so with a clean conscience.”

 

– Key elections in Georgia –

It was unclear what impact the tape’s release might have on the twin runoff elections in Georgia on Tuesday, which will decide who controls the US Senate.

Both Trump and Biden are due to appear at rallies in the southern state on Monday.

Republican incumbents David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler are facing off against Democratic challengers Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, respectively.

Victory by Ossoff and Warnock would give Democrats, and Biden, a major boost — Senate seats would be evenly divided between the parties at 50 each, but incoming Vice President Harris would wield a tie-breaking vote. Democrats already control the House.

“This is going to be a very tough battle but it is absolutely within the realm of possibility — in fact, the realm of likelihood — the Democrats can win,” Stacey Abrams, the charismatic former Georgia lawmaker who has emerged as a party leader, told CNN on Sunday.

 

– ‘Time to move forward’ –

News of the Trump tape came hours after the US Congress opened its new session Sunday.

Pelosi, the highest-ranking woman in the history of US politics, will serve another term as speaker of the House after her reelection.

Congress will convene in a rare joint session on Wednesday to certify Biden’s election result — but it will not be the usual dry pro forma affair.

So far, 12 Republican senators loyal to Trump have announced plans to block certification, instead demanding the formation of a special commission to do an “emergency” election audit.

With Democrats controlling the House and many Senate Republicans expected to confirm Biden’s victory, the rebel effort is all but certain to fail, but it has raised tensions on Capitol Hill.

It has also underscored a sharp divide within the president’s party, as Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell has asked his caucus to respect the Electoral College result.

Senator Mitt Romney, the party’s 2012 presidential candidate, called the campaign an “egregious ploy” that served only to “enhance the political ambition of some.”

He and a bipartisan coalition of senators on Sunday called on Congress to certify the result, saying: “The 2020 election is over… It is time to move forward.”

Pro-Trump protesters not quite willing to concede are expected to rally in Washington on Wednesday.

Trump, who has urged thousands to support his cause, tweeted Sunday: “I will be there. Historic day!”

AFP

US Election: Top Republicans Congratulate Biden

US President-elect Joe Biden gestures in celebration after delivering remarks in Wilmington, Delaware, on November 7, 2020, after being declared the winners of the presidential election. ANGELA WEISS / AFP

 

One day after the Electoral College affirmed Joe Biden as US president-elect, the top Republican in Congress broke weeks of election silence Tuesday and sent a sober message to a defiant President Donald Trump: it’s over.

For more than a month Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had refused to recognize Biden, his former longtime Senate colleague, as the winner of the November 3 contest, arguing that the process would take time to play out.

But as Trump’s unprecedented bid to overturn the results crashed and burned, and with electors on Monday confirming Biden’s victory 306 to 232, McConnell became the most powerful member of the Republican Party to publicly acknowledge Biden’s victory.

“The Electoral College has spoken. So today I want to congratulate President-elect Joe Biden,” McConnell said on the Senate floor.

“Many of us hoped that the presidential election would yield a different result, but our system of government has processes to determine who will be sworn in on January 20,” he added.

“I also want to congratulate the vice president-elect, our colleague from California, Senator (Kamala) Harris,” he said, noting that “all Americans can take pride” that they will have a female VP for the first time.

While some Republican lawmakers signaled they would not give up the fight, others like retiring Senator Lamar Alexander directly urged Trump to “put the country first” and help Biden as he transitions to the White House.

Joining the chorus, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday congratulated Biden on his victory and said he was “ready for collaboration” on issues like global security.

Biden, 78, is expected to take a tougher stand against Russia than Trump, whom the Democrat slammed during the campaign for having “embraced so many autocrats around the world, starting with Vladimir Putin.”

Biden is riding high after members of the Electoral College gathered in all 50 states and the capital Washington to put the official stamp on the will of the people.

The vote offered no surprises — and in more traditional times the rather arcane Electoral College process would be just a formality in the normal transfer of power.

But Trump, in unprecedented fashion, has yet to acknowledge his own defeat in the chaotic election that will see him exit the White House after a single four-year term.

In welcoming the vote, Biden delivered a speech saying US democracy proved “resilient” against Trump’s “abuse of power.”

“It’s time to turn the page,” Biden told the bitterly divided country.

He also issued his first extended attack on Trump since the election, saying the president and his allies “refused to respect the will of the people, refused to respect the rule of law, and refused to honor our constitution.”

Biden praised voters for casting ballots in record numbers on November 3 despite fears of Covid-19 and “enormous political pressure, verbal abuse and even threats of physical violence” against those running the election.

Minds on Georgia

Even as the door essentially shut on unprecedented efforts to overturn the results, Trump remained defiant, insisting in a series of tweets that he won a “landslide victory” and that there were still “tremendous problems” with the vote.

In a threatening move against Republican leaders in Georgia, where he has made baseless claims of massive voter fraud, he retweeted a pro-Trump lawyer who posted a picture of Georgia’s governor and secretary of state, saying “they will soon be going to jail.”

Biden campaigns later Tuesday in Georgia, where Democratic Senate candidates are locked in tight runoffs whose results will determine the balance of power in the Senate, and thus shape Biden’s presidency.

Democrats need to flip both seats in order to seize Senate control, while Republicans must hold just one to maintain their majority.

Republicans have framed Georgia as must-win races, with the state forming the last line of defense against what they describe as a radical, left wing agenda.

“Georgia is the firewall to socialism,” one of the Republican incumbents, Senator Kelly Loeffler, said Monday. “We have to hold the line here.”

Meanwhile, Trump announced Monday that Attorney General Bill Barr, who contradicted his fraud claims, would leave his post next week.

 

AFP

Electoral College Confirms Joe Biden’s Victory

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden gestures after speaking during election night at the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware, early on November 4, 2020. ANGELA WEISS / AFP
Joe Biden.            Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP

 

 

Joe Biden was confirmed as the next US president on Monday as the Electoral College formalized his victory over Donald Trump, all but closing the door on the incumbent’s efforts to overturn the result of the 2020 election.

As Biden appealed to Americans to “turn the page” on the divisive contest, electors met across all US states to seal his win, with California pushing Biden over the majority of 270 votes — and clearing the way for him to take office on January 20.

But with his ability to steal the spotlight still intact, Trump announced moments later that Attorney General Bill Barr, who contradicted the outgoing president’s claims that the November 3 election was marred by fraud, would leave his post next week.

“Our relationship has been a very good one,” Trump tweeted, making no mention of their divergence. “Bill will be leaving just before Christmas to spend the holidays with his family.”

While a senior administration official said Barr resigned of his own accord and was not pushed out, the extraordinary convergence of events highlighted the tensions underlying Trump’s “lame duck” final weeks in office.

The 200-plus-year-old Electoral College procedure is merely a formality in confirming the will of the people expressed at the polls, but the process carried added significance given the turbulence of last month’s election and Trump’s refusal to acknowledge his own defeat.

California’s electors burst into applause as the presiding officer read out the tally of 55 in favor of Biden and none opposed — confirming Barack Obama’s former vice president as the nation’s 46th president.

“Democracy prevailed. We the people voted…. The integrity of our elections remains intact,” Biden said in excerpts from a speech he was expected to deliver in his home city of Wilmington, Delaware later Monday.

“Now it is time to turn the page, to unite, to heal,” Biden said. “I will be a president for all Americans.”

This year, the somewhat arcane Electoral College procedure was at the center of an ugly — and many warn dangerous — challenge led by Trump against the credibility of US democracy.

Soundly beaten by Biden on November 3, Trump continues to claim, without evidence, that he was the real winner.

Court after court has turned down the Republican team’s claims of election fraud and last Friday the US Supreme Court dealt a final legal blow when it threw out an appeal lodged by Trump allies from Texas and other Republican-led states.

Disinformation

Formal Electoral College confirmation drew a further line under the election, which saw Biden make Trump a rare one-term president after campaigning on a message of vanquishing the Covid-19 pandemic, healing political division and restoring traditional US diplomacy.

Until now, a majority of Republicans in Congress have either backed Trump’s claims or at least turned a blind eye, with many refusing to call Biden the president-elect.

Disinformation spearheaded by the president and spread by popular commentators on Fox News and new conspiracy theory-mongering outlets like Newsmax means many Americans have all but given up faith in their own institutions.

Thousands of Trump supporters, including members of far-right groups, protested in Washington at the weekend, brawling with counter-protesters, while in Georgia footage showed armed activists in camouflage parading at the state Capitol to support Trump’s claims.

Polls show as few as one in four Republican voters accept the election results.

Trump maintained his stream of threats and unsubstantiated claims on Twitter Monday, citing “massive VOTER FRAUD” and declaring that certifying election results would be “a severely punishable crime.”

The legal Electoral College vote, however, has now left the Trump train almost no place left to go.

Ahead of Biden’s inauguration one major formality remains, when Congress, presided over by Vice President Mike Pence, opens up and counts the electoral votes on January 6.

In the latest sign of a shifting tide, the staunchly Trump-supporting editorial board of The Wall Street Journal told Trump that his time is up.

“President Trump’s legal challenges have run their course, and he and the rest of the Republican Party can help the country and themselves by acknowledging the result and moving on,” it said.

AFP

US Electoral College Set To Confirm Biden Victory

US President-elect Joe Biden delivers a Thanksgiving address at the Queen Theatre in Wilmington, Delaware, on November 25, 2020. CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP
File photo: US President-elect Joe Biden delivers a Thanksgiving address at the Queen Theatre in Wilmington, Delaware, on November 25, 2020. CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP

 

Joe Biden’s US election victory was set for formal confirmation Monday by the Electoral College, further closing the door on angry efforts by President Donald Trump to overturn the 2020 vote.

Electors were meeting across all 50 states, often under extra security amid tensions driven by Trump’s unprecedented refusal to concede.

About halfway through the process, due to finish late Monday, Biden was on course to rack up an expected 306 Electoral College votes against 232 for Trump. As soon as he crosses the half-way mark, hitting 270, his win will already be secured.

“I hope you can see me smiling behind this mask,” said Democrat Nancy Patton Mills, as she presided over the vote, held with full Covid-19 precautions, in Pennsylvania.

READ ALSO: UK Becomes First Country To Approve Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine

Most electoral voters are unknown to the wider public, but national personalities occasionally take part — with Trump’s 2016 rival Hillary Clinton voting Monday in New York.

“I believe we should abolish the Electoral College,” Clinton tweeted. “But while it still exists, I was proud to cast my vote in New York for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

 

US President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris stand with spouses Jill Biden and Doug Emhoff after delivering remarks in Wilmington, Delaware, on November 7, 2020, after being declared the winners of the presidential election. Jim WATSON / AFP

 

The Electoral College is a tradition that has long been considered mostly a formality for confirming the will of the people expressed at the polls.

This year, the somewhat arcane procedure is at the center of an ugly — and many warn dangerous — challenge led by Trump against the credibility of US democracy.

Soundly beaten by Biden on November 3, Trump continues to claim, without evidence, that he was the real winner.

Court after court has turned down the Republican team’s claims of election fraud around the country and last Friday the Supreme Court dealt a final legal blow when it threw out an appeal lodged by Trump allies from Texas and other Republican-led states.

Yet another challenge, seeking to get Biden’s narrow win in Wisconsin tossed out, was rejected Monday by the state’s top court.

Formal confirmation in the Electoral College will draw a further line under the election, which saw Biden make Trump a rare one-term president after campaigning on a message of vanquishing the Covid-19 pandemic, healing political division and restoring traditional US diplomacy.

The Democrat, who has largely avoided responding to Trump’s conspiracy theories, announced he would deliver an address in the evening dedicated to “the strength and resilience” of US democracy.

– Disinformation –
Until now, a majority of Republicans in Congress have either backed Trump’s claims or at least turned a blind eye, with many refusing to call Biden the president-elect.

Disinformation spearheaded by the president and spread by popular commentators on Fox News and new conspiracy theory-mongering outlets like Newsmax means that many Americans have all but given up faith in their own institutions.

Polls show that as few as one in four Republican voters accept the election results.

Thousands of Trump supporters, including members of far-right groups, protested in Washington at the weekend, brawling with counter-protesters.

The threat of violence led to extraordinary security measures for the Electoral College meetings in several states.

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer — herself the target this year of death threats and a paramilitary kidnapping plot — ordered the vote to take place in a closed building due to “security issues.” Footage in Georgia over the weekend showed a group of armed activists in camouflage parading at the state Capitol to support Trump’s claims.

File photo: US President Donald Trump holds up his fist as he leaves the stage at the end of a rally to support Republican Senate candidates at Valdosta Regional Airport in Valdosta, Georgia on December 5, 2020. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP).

 

The White House showed no sign of relenting.

Stephen Miller, a senior Trump advisor, told Fox News on Monday that an “alternate slate of electors” had been created to send its own results to Congress, with Biden declared the loser.

And Trump maintained his stream of threats and unsubstantiated claims on Twitter, citing “massive VOTER FRAUD” and declaring that certifying election results would be “a severely punishable crime.”

The legal Electoral College vote, however, will leave the Trump train almost no place left to go.

Only one big formality remains before Biden’s inauguration on January 20, when Congress, presided over by Vice President Mike Pence, opens up and counts the electoral votes on January 6.

Pennsylvania’s state attorney general Josh Shapiro, who is also an elector, called Monday’s procedure an “exclamation point, clearly demonstrating — yet again — that Joe Biden will be the next president of the United States.”

In the latest sign of a shifting tide, the staunchly Trump-supporting editorial board of The Wall Street Journal told Trump Monday that his time is up.

“President Trump’s legal challenges have run their course, and he and the rest of the Republican Party can help the country and themselves by acknowledging the result and moving on,” it said.

AFP

Biden’s Vote Lead Over Trump Widens To 7 Million

This combination of file photos created on October 15, 2020 shows US President Donald Trump speaking during a briefing at the White House September 27, 2020, in Washington, DC and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden as he speaks outside the Delaware Museum of Natural History in Wilmington, Delaware, on September 14, 2020. JIM WATSON, Brendan Smialowski / AFP
This combination of file photos created on October 15, 2020 shows US President Donald Trump speaking during a briefing at the White House September 27, 2020, in Washington, DC and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden as he speaks outside the Delaware Museum of Natural History in Wilmington, Delaware, on September 14, 2020. JIM WATSON, Brendan Smialowski / AFP

 

Democrat Joe Biden’s election margin over President Donald Trump widened to more than seven million votes Thursday even as Trump and supporters persisted in claims of fraud.

One month after the November 3 election, new local tallies from New York drove victor Biden’s total to 81,264,673 votes, compared to Trump’s 74,210,838, with a total 158.4 million votes counted so far, according to data compiled by the Cook Political Report.

That gave Biden a solid 4.4 percentage point margin over the Republican president.

Biden has captured 306 electoral votes for his victories in individual states, well past the 270 needed to win the presidency.

 

This combination of pictures created on September 29, 2020 shows Democratic Presidential candidate and former US Vice President Joe Biden (L) and US President Donald Trump speaking during the first presidential debate at the Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio on September 29, 2020. JIM WATSON, SAUL LOEB / AFP

 

Trump continues to insist Democrats engineered a massive fraud in the vote and that he is the real winner, without offering convincing evidence.

READ ALSO: Former US Presidents Ready To Publicly Receive COVID-19 Vaccine

Administrative and court challenges lodged by his campaign have repeatedly failed, and Biden, near-universally recognized as the president-elect, will be confirmed as winner by the Electoral College on December 14.

Biden will be inaugurated president and occupy the White House on January 20.

AFP