As President-elect Joe Biden’s 306-232 lead in electoral college votes was reaffirmed on Thursday by a recount in the state of Georgia, President Donald Trump yet again launched efforts to overturn the US election’s outcome after having failed to mount a credible legal challenge in the battleground states that he lost.
Biden, who turned 78 on Friday, and his team have maintained a public posture of confidence in the outcome. “It’s hard to fathom how this man thinks,” he told reporters on Thursday. “I’m confident he knows he hasn’t won, and is not going to win, and we’re going to be sworn in on January 20.”
The Democrat president-elect did speak disapprovingly of Trump’s behaviour, which he felt was “totally irresponsible” and sent “damaging” messages to the rest of the world about how democracy works, conveying a “horrible message about who we are as a country”.
Georgia’s hand recount of votes lasted six days, but brought no real relief to Trump. He can, however, still seek another recount under the state’s election rules. Wisconsin, meanwhile, began a recount in two counties on Friday, as demanded by the Trump campaign.
Trump and Republican allies have filed more than 30 lawsuits since November 3, when polling closed for the 2020 election. They first alleged election fraud and irregularities, and then dropped them, indicating how tenuous they were.
Mitt Romney, a Republican senator who has been critical of Trump, said, “Having failed to make even a plausible case of widespread fraud or conspiracy before any court of law, the president has now resorted to overt pressure on state and local officials to subvert the will of the people and overturn the election. It is difficult to imagine a worse, more undemocratic act by a sitting American president.”
Trump has invited a group of Republican legislators from Michigan, a battleground state he lost, to the White House on Friday in a reported bid to persuade them to reject the election’s outcome.
Trump lost Michigan, which has 16 electoral college votes, by more than 150,000 popular votes and tried earlier to persuade local Republican officials to not certify the result in the state’s largest county, which is mostly black. He has had no success yet.
The US president will need to deploy this strategy based on the use of the power of his office in other states to overturn the 306-232 verdict and could next target Georgia (16 electoral votes) and Arizona (11) – states with Republicans in control of the legislatures and the governorships.
Biden is set to hold his first in-person meeting since winning the election with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer on Friday. He will host the top Democrats in the House and Senate at his makeshift transition headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware.
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