BREAKING NEWS Finally Feeling Like Fall Full Story

GOP lets Trump fight election for weeks despite Biden's win

Mitch McConnell (R), politician serving as Kentucky’s senior United States Senator and as Senate Majority Leader, Photo Date: December 19, 2019

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says there’s “no reason for alarm” as President Donald Trump pursues unfounded legal challenges to President-elect Joe Biden’s election victory.

Posted: Nov 10, 2020 6:07 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday there’s “no reason for alarm” as President Donald Trump, backed by Republicans in Congress, mounts unfounded legal challenges to President-elect Joe Biden’s election victory — a process that could now push into December.

Republicans on Capitol Hill signaled they are willing to let Trump spin out his election lawsuits and unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud for the next several weeks, until the states certify the elections by early December and the Electoral College meets Dec. 14.

McConnell’s comments show how hard Republicans are trying to portray Trump’s refusal to accept the election results as an ordinary part of the process, even as it’s nothing short of extraordinary. There is no widespread evidence of election fraud; state officials say the elections ran smoothly. The delay has the potential to upend civic norms, impede Biden’s transition to the White House and sow doubt in the nation’s civic and election systems.

Trump remained out of sight at the White House, tweeting his views, but the social media company Twitter swiftly flagged the president’s tweets that he actually won the election as disputed.

“It’s not unusual, should not be alarming," McConnell told reporters on Capitol Hill. "At some point here we’ll find out, finally, who was certified in each of these states, and the Electoral College will determine the winner. ... No reason for alarm.”

Democrats were livid, saying McConnell and Republicans in Congress are so afraid of Trump they are willing to risk the nation's tradition of an orderly transition.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said the president is “undermining faith in our elections.”

Biden, taking questions from reporters in Delaware, called the president's refusal to concede an “embarrassment.”

"How can I say this tactfully?" Biden said. “I think it will not help the president's legacy.”

Biden said he understands Trump voters' “sense of loss.” But he said, “They understand we have to come together. ... We can pull the country out of this bitter politics.”

Trump’s GOP allies in Congress have largely declined to congratulate Biden, even though privately many Republicans doubt Trump has any legitimate path to change the outcome.

Republicans are increasingly pointing to a December deadline for Trump to exhaust his legal challenges. That's when the states face a deadline to certify results and the Electoral College is set to cast its votes Dec. 14. It's also about the time it took to resolve the 2000 election dispute between Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Al Gore.

Yet, unlike the Bush-Gore election, which was held up over hundreds of contested ballots in one state, Florida, Trump’s team is challenging the outcome in several states with tens of thousands of ballots. Trump would need to produce ample evidence of impropriety to undo Biden’s lead, which appears unlikely.

During a closed-door lunch, Vice President Mike Pence told Senate Republicans about the legal strategy. Sen John Cornyn, R-Texas, said the conversation lasted about five minutes.

McConnell insisted later, “I don’t think we're going to have an uninterrupted transition.”

Trump’s refusal to concede has led the General Services Administration to hold off on formally beginning the Biden transition, which could hamper the new administration.

Democrats, meanwhile, are pushing ahead in preparation for the Biden administration, particularly the president-elect’s immediate rollout of a sweeping COVID-19 plan.

On Tuesday, Schumer invited Biden adviser Vivek Murthy, the former surgeon general, to a private briefing with senators to discuss Biden’s plan to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

Democratic senators said it was like a cloud lifting as they heard plans for a comprehensive approach for bringing the COVID-19 crisis under control.

“Congress should pursue a strong, comprehensive COVID relief bill,” Schumer said. He warned McConnell and Republicans not to block or settle for a more modest effort. “We cannot pretend this pandemic is nearly over,” he said.

Trump and his GOP allies haven’t offered evidence of election fraud, and their legal challenges have largely been rejected by the courts.

Still, Republicans are unwilling to stray from Trump, even in defeat, afraid of angering his most ardent supporters ahead of the Jan. 5 runoff elections in Georgia that will determine majority control of the Senate. Two Republican senators are struggling to keep their seats against Democratic challengers.

McConnell noted the potential turmoil during the transition in praising ousted Defense Secretary Mark Esper, whom Trump fired on Monday.

McConnell said he expects to speak “soon” with new acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller about threats from terrorists or foreign adversaries ”who may seek to exploit a period of uncertainty.”

He said the times call for “continued sober and steady leadership” at the Pentagon.

Both McConnell and Schumer were reelected as party leaders during private Senate elections Tuesday, but it’s unclear whether McConnell will retain his role as majority leader or cede it to Schumer as the final races for the U.S. Senate play out.

Last week’s elections left the chamber split, 48-48, heading into the new Congress next year. Republicans brushed back Democratic challengers in several states, but failed to lock down the seats needed to retain their majority.

The races for the two seats in Georgia heading to a Jan. 5 runoff are swiftly becoming a showdown over control of the chamber. The state is closely divided, with Democrats making gains on Republicans, fueled by a surge of new voters. But no Democrat has been elected senator in some 20 years.

Two other seats remain too early to call in North Carolina and Alaska. Even if Republicans secure those final two races where ballots are still being counted, they would still fall short of the 51 seats needed.

The vice president of the party holding the White House casts the tie-breaking vote in the Senate. Next year that would be Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. That means 50 seats for Democrats would result in chamber control. But Republicans would need 51 seats to retain power.

The stakes are high for all sides in Georgia, with strategists expecting an eye-popping $500 million could be spent in the weeks ahead.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 497790

Reported Deaths: 9917
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34102530
DeSoto31839398
Hinds31837622
Jackson24314377
Rankin21881388
Lee15427234
Madison14525279
Jones13772241
Forrest13412250
Lauderdale11937314
Lowndes10934185
Lamar10470135
Pearl River9431237
Lafayette8454138
Hancock7697126
Washington7365156
Oktibbeha7111129
Monroe6727174
Warren6642176
Pontotoc6609101
Neshoba6606205
Panola6460131
Marshall6386132
Bolivar6266145
Union596094
Pike5784152
Alcorn5633101
Lincoln5417134
George491879
Scott470998
Tippah465381
Prentiss464181
Leflore4627143
Itawamba4596104
Adams4570119
Tate4546109
Copiah445191
Simpson4421116
Wayne438572
Yazoo438586
Covington427394
Marion4216107
Sunflower4215104
Coahoma4115104
Leake407787
Newton380879
Grenada3692108
Stone358464
Tishomingo356391
Attala330289
Jasper328265
Winston313191
Clay306375
Chickasaw296767
Clarke290694
Calhoun277945
Holmes266987
Smith262550
Yalobusha232647
Tallahatchie225251
Walthall217763
Greene215548
Lawrence211140
Perry204755
Amite203954
Webster201645
Noxubee185340
Montgomery179056
Jefferson Davis170642
Carroll167438
Tunica158639
Benton147438
Kemper141241
Choctaw133026
Claiborne131237
Humphreys129038
Franklin119128
Quitman106227
Wilkinson104539
Jefferson94234
Sharkey64020
Issaquena1937
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 813481

Reported Deaths: 15179
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1139971910
Mobile722271323
Madison51970686
Shelby37279341
Baldwin37069540
Tuscaloosa34934599
Montgomery33953725
Lee23142240
Calhoun22142470
Morgan20639372
Etowah19758496
Marshall18245300
Houston17302405
St. Clair15912337
Cullman15306290
Limestone15202198
Elmore15075284
Lauderdale14143294
Talladega13715272
DeKalb12569259
Walker11085366
Blount10094174
Autauga9893146
Jackson9789180
Coffee9182189
Dale8859181
Colbert8789200
Tallapoosa7044195
Escambia6732127
Covington6682179
Chilton6587160
Russell625958
Franklin5930105
Chambers5559142
Marion4955126
Dallas4882199
Clarke472782
Pike4719105
Geneva4564126
Winston4473101
Lawrence4264117
Bibb421686
Barbour355475
Marengo334089
Monroe330262
Randolph327063
Butler324794
Pickens313882
Henry310965
Hale309187
Cherokee299957
Fayette290679
Washington250951
Cleburne246958
Crenshaw243575
Clay240367
Macon230562
Lamar215846
Conecuh185652
Coosa178538
Lowndes173761
Wilcox167438
Bullock151744
Perry138040
Sumter131038
Greene125544
Choctaw86927
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 70°
Columbus
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 71°
Oxford
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 66°
Starkville
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 68°
A cold front passing through our area overnight will bring into our area some of the coolest temperatures of the season so far. We will see most of the highs this weekend only in the upper 60s to lower 70s. While overnight lows will drop off down into the 40s Saturday night.
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather