New York, Dec. 15, 2020
U.S. President-elect Joe Biden on Monday said it was time for outgoing President Donald Trump to stop grandstanding and concede the Nov. 3 election.
Addressing the nation shortly after the Electoral College confirmed his victory in the Nov. 3 general polls, Biden said the “will of the people prevailed”.
This is as former U.S. First Lady and Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, on Monday renewed her call for the abolition of the country’s Electoral College.
She made the call in a tweet shortly after voting as an elector alongside her husband, former President Bill Clinton in New York.
“I believe we should abolish the Electoral College and select our president by the winner of the popular vote, same as every other office.
“But while it still exists, I was proud to cast my vote in New York for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris,” the tweet reads.
Biden, in his address, said Trump’s refusal to accept defeat after his several lawsuits failed up to the Supreme Court was an “unprecedented assault on our democracy”.
He stated that the country’s democracy had been “pushed, tested and threatened” but “proved to be resilient, true and strong”.
“The flame of democracy was lit in this nation a long time ago, and we now know that nothing, not even a pandemic or an abuse of power can extinguish that flame.
“This is the biggest voter turnout in the history of the United States of America.
“The number is so big that this election now ranks the clearest demonstration of the true will of the American people.
“Together, Vice President-elect Harris and I earned 306 electoral votes, well exceeding the 270 electoral votes needed to secure victory.
“Three hundred and six electoral votes is the same number of electoral votes that Donald Trump and Vice President Pence received when they won in 2016.
“At the time, President Trump called the electoral college a landslide. And I respectfully suggest he does so now,” the president-elect said.
Biden won the November election with received 306 electoral votes, against Trump’s 232.
The next step is the transmission of the votes to a joint session of Congress presided over by Vice President Pence on Jan. 6 for counting and final confirmation.
This will pave the way for Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20.
Trump said in November that he would step aside in January if the Electoral College ratified Biden’s victory.
The News Agency of the Nigeria (NAN) recalls that Hilary Clinton lost the 2016 presidential election to Donald Trump in spite of winning the popular votes.
Trump was elected after securing 304 electoral votes to Clinton’s 227.
The Clintons were joined by Gov. Andrew Cuomo alongside 26 other electors on Monday who formerly sealed Biden’s victory in the Nov. 3 election in New York.
The U.S. Electoral College is a group of 538 presidential electors who converge in state capitals every December of an election year to ratify the election of the President and the Vice President following the recently concluded general polls on Nov. 3.
The number of electors in each state is equivalent to the number of seats in the state’s legislature.
A candidate requires an absolute majority of 270 electoral votes to win the election.
But if no candidate secures the 270 votes, Congress holds a contingent election to pick the president and Vice President.
Meanwhile, U.S. Attorney General William Barr is resigning from the top cabinet position with effect from Dec. 23, confirming the resignation rumours that had been rife.
Barr did not give reasons for the decision in his two-page resignation letter posted by President Donald Trump on Twitter on Monday evening.
“Just had a very nice meeting with Attorney General Bill Barr at the White House. Our relationship has been a very good one, he has done an outstanding job!
“As per letter, Bill will be leaving just before Christmas to spend the holidays with his family,” Trump said in the tweet.
The president named Deputy Attorney General Jeff Rosen, whom he described as an outstanding person, as Barr’s successor in acting capacity.
Barr’s resignation came as the Electoral College formally confirmed Joe Biden’s presidential election victory.
Trump had yet to concede defeat and is challenging the election results for alleged widespread voter fraud, but his efforts to overturn the outcome had been unsuccessful in court.
In the letter, the outgoing attorney general thanked the president for the opportunity to serve in his administration and the American people.
He said he was proud to have contributed to the “many successes and unprecedented achievements” delivered by Trump for the American people.
“Your record is all the more historic because you accomplished it in the face of relentless, implacable resistance.
“Few could have weathered these attacks, much less forge ahead with a positive programme for the country,” he wrote.
Barr went ahead to outline the president’s achievements in areas such as the economy, immigration, border security, Middle East and protection of competition in the tech sector, among others.
“As discussed, I will spend the next week wrapping up a few remaining matters important to the Administration and Depart on Dec. 23,” he said.
Trump recently began to criticise the Department of Justice for “missing in action” on the voter fraud probe launched by Barr in November.
On Dec. 1, Barr told the Associated Press that the investigation had found no evidence of widespread fraud in the Nov. 3 elections as alleged by the president.
“To date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have affected a different outcome in the election,” he said in the interview.
The declaration did not go down well with Trump who accused Barr of having done nothing because he had not looked hard enough.
He declined to say whether or not he still had confidence in the attorney general, and simply said: “Ask me in a couple of weeks from now.”