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Presidential Transition Highlights: US Election ‘Should Be Celebrated

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Presidential Transition Highlights: US Election ‘Should Be Celebrated by Kenyans247(1): Tue 15, December, 2020 08:27am
As the Electoral College vote concluded, President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. criticized President Trump and his allies for subjecting elections officials to threats and abuse. “The integrity of our elections remains intact,” he said in a speech.

Here’s what you need to know:
Biden calls Trump’s attacks on voting ‘unconscionable.’
With votes from California’s electors, Biden crosses 270-vote threshold.
After the Electoral College votes, a rush of Senate Republicans warily accept Trump’s loss.
The electoral process unfolds smoothly across the country, despite fears of unrest.
Early voting begins in the Georgia runoffs, which will determine control of the Senate.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers unveiled a $748 billion stimulus compromise, separating out the most contentious sticking points.
Representative Paul Mitchell leaves Republican Party over its refusal to accept Trump’s loss.
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Biden calls Trump’s attacks on voting ‘unconscionable.’President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Monday denounced the attacks on voting by President Trump and his allies, calling them “unconscionable” and saying that no officials should ever face the kind of pressure they received to falsely proclaim an election to be fraudulent.

“They saw it with their own eyes,” Mr. Biden said, speaking in Wilmington, Del. “And they wouldn’t be bullied into saying anything different.”

Mr. Biden’s forceful denunciation of the president’s tactics over the past several weeks came hours after the Electoral College formally cast its votes to replace Mr. Trump on Jan. 20. It was time, Mr. Biden said, “to turn the page” on the election and move on with the business of the country.

“We the people voted,” he said. “Faith in our institutions held. The integrity of our elections remains intact. And so now it is time to turn the page, as we’ve done throughout our history. To unite. To heal.”

Mr. Trump has sought for weeks to reverse the outcome of the election with baseless and unproven accusations of voter fraud in the swing states that delivered the victory to Mr. Biden. The president has refused to concede while he and his allies have undermined faith in the country’s democratic system of governance.

Even on Monday, as the electors gathered in states around the country to cast their votes, Mr. Trump tweeted about a “Rigged Election!” and “massive fraud,” allegations that were quickly labeled “disputed” by Twitter.

Mr. Biden said on Monday that efforts to undo the result of the 2020 election represented a “position so extreme we’ve never seen it before.”

Just over a month before he will be inaugurated as the 46th president, Mr. Biden hailed the record-breaking turnout in the presidential campaign, calling it “one of the most amazing demonstrations of civic duty we’ve ever seen in our country” and saying that it “should be celebrated, not attacked.”

Anticipating potential complaints from Republicans, the president-elect noted that Mr. Trump and his legal team were “denied no course of action” as they challenged the legitimacy of the election before Republican-appointed judges, with Republican legislatures, and in desperate conversations with Republican officials at the state and local levels.

None wavered in their determination that the election was fairly conducted, Mr. Biden said.

In his speech, the president-elect expressed confidence that the defining feature of American democracy — its electoral process — would survive Mr. Trump’s assault.

“If anyone didn’t know it before, we know it now. What beats deep in the hearts of the American people is this: democracy,” Mr. Biden said. “The right to be heard. To have your vote counted. To choose leaders of this nation. To govern ourselves. In America, politicians don’t take power — people grant power to them.”

As he has for weeks, Mr. Biden kept his focus on the raging coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 300,000 people in the United States. Though first responders, doctors and others have begun receiving the first doses of a vaccine, Mr. Biden warned that the months ahead will be difficult.

“There is urgent work in front of us,” he said. “Getting this pandemic under control and getting the nation vaccinated against this virus. Delivering immediate economic help so badly needed by so many Americans who are hurting today — and then building our economy back better than it ever was.”

He also called for unity on a day in which electors in many states performed their duties under threat of violence. He urged people in both parties to work together, giving each other a “chance to lower the temperature” in American politics.

“We need to stand in solidarity, as fellow Americans, to see each other, our pain, our struggles, our hopes and our dreams,” he said. “We’re a great nation. We’re good people.”

“The flame of democracy was lit in this nation, a long time ago,” Mr. Biden added. “And we now know nothing, not even a pandemic or an abuse of power, can extinguish that flame.”

— Michael D. Shear
With votes from California’s electors, Biden crosses 270-vote threshold.Joseph R. Biden Jr. was affirmed as the president-elect on Monday as members of the Electoral College pushed him past the 270 threshold to win the White House, all but ending a disruptive chapter in American history in which President Trump sought to use legal challenges and political pressure to overturn the results of a free and fair election.

The president-elect passed the threshold after California cast its 55 votes for Mr. Biden on Monday afternoon, capping a day marked by heightened security in battleground states and an unusual level of scrutiny for what is normally a formal, procedural affair.

With supporters of Mr. Trump promising to mount protests outside of some statehouses, officials took extra steps to ensure the safety of the electors. Lawmakers in Michigan, citing credible threats, closed the Capitol building to the public, as did those in Wisconsin, where electors in Madison were ushered into a side entrance at the State Capitol for the noon vote.

Yet Monday’s votes were largely smooth, and protests did not disrupt the proceedings. Indeed, in many battleground states, police presence outnumbered protesters, and the normally staid process carried out by the Electoral College went uninterrupted.

“It’s not just out of tradition but to show folks, especially now more than ever, our system works,” said Gov. Chris Sununu, the Republican governor of New Hampshire, before the electors in his state all cast their votes for Mr. Biden on Monday morning.

The vote on Monday officially sends Mr. Biden to the White House, as he assumes the presidency next month after a trying election marked by deep divisions and a devastating pandemic that crippled the country and disrupted voting.

Mr. Biden has been working aggressively to fill out his cabinet to prepare for when he takes office in January, aiming to have a team ready to combat the coronavirus and begin the long recovery.

The vote followed six weeks of unprecedented efforts by Mr. Trump to intervene in the electoral process and change the outcome of an election he lost by about seven million votes. He was joined by many Republicans who supported his unfounded claims of voter fraud, including 126 party members and 17 state attorneys general who supported a case before the Supreme Court that legal experts said had no merit. The court rejected the case on Friday.

— Nick Corasaniti and Jim Rutenberg
WHAT IT MEANSMr. Biden was confirmed as the winner of the election, but Mr. Trump’s war on the results is likely to have lasting effects for the country.

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