Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) defended President Trump’s legal challenges in several key battleground states, saying he is “within his rights to look into allegations of irregularities and weigh his legal options” while refusing to acknowledge Joe Biden as the president-elect.
“No states have yet certified their election results. We have at least one or two states that are already on track for a recount. And I believe the president may have legal challenges underway in at least five states,” McConnell said on the Senate floor Monday afternoon. “The core principle here is not complicated. In the United States of America, all legal ballots must be counted, any illegal ballots must not be counted, the process should be transparent or observable by all sides and the courts are here to work through concerns.”
“Our institutions are actually built for this. We have the system in place to consider concerns, and President Trump is 100% within his rights to look into allegations of irregularities and weigh his legal options,” McConnell added.
Biden declared victory on Saturday after several news media organizations announced the Democrat candidate the winner based on tabulated election returns.
McConnell argued that media organizations calling the race for Biden while votes continue to be counted have no constitutional role to decide the winner.
“The president has every right to look into allegations and to request recounts under the law. And notably, the Constitution gives no role in this process to wealthy media corporations,” McConnell said. ” The projections and commentary of the press do not get veto power over the legal rights of any citizen, including the president of the United States.”
The majority leader noted the 2000 recount in Florida in how Democratic candidate Al Gore mounted a lengthy legal challenge that lasted over a month and didn’t concede the election until December of that year.
“Let’s not have any lectures, no lectures about how the president should immediately, cheerfully accept preliminary election results from the same characters who just spent four years refusing to accept the validity of the last election,” McConnell said, referencing Democrats baseless claims of Russian interference of 2016 presidential election.
The Trump campaign has filed a dozen legal challenges in several battleground states that are still counting mail-in ballots a week after Election Day. As judges recently tossed out lawsuits in counties of Michigan and Georgia, the Trump campaign have indicated they are willing to appeal those decisions by state court and all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary.
As of Monday, the Trump campaign recently filed a lawsuit in Pennsylvania alleging the creation and implementation of an illegal “two-tiered” voting system. The “two-track” system, according to suit resulted in-person voters being held to different standards compared to the state’s mail-in voting. The lawyers cited two Constitutional violations — Equal Protection Clause violation and Elections and Electors Clauses violation as their main bases of the suit.
“If any major irregularities occurred this time of a magnitude that would affect the outcome, then every single American should want them to be brought to light,” McConnell said. “If the Democrats feel confident that they have not occurred, they should have no reason to fear any extra scrutiny. We have the tools and institutions we need to address any concerns.”
Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) decried Republicans’ refusal to stand by the election results, calling it “extremely dangerous, extremely poisonous to our democracy.”