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Mitt Romney is the first senior Republican to congratulate Joe Biden and call him president-elect

Mitt Romney is the first senior Republican to congratulate Joe Biden and call him president-elect – as party’s senior figures wrestle with how to deal with Donald Trump’s refusal to concede

  • Romney and his wife Ann congratulated Joe Biden on his victory 
  • Statement came after TV networks called the race amid Pennsylvania and Nevada going his way
  • ‘We know both of them as people of good will and admirable character’
  • Called Biden ‘president-elect’ and congratulated Sen. Kamala Harris 
  • Came after Trump claimed Saturday: ‘I WON THIS ELECTION, BY A LOT!’

Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney became the first senior Republican figure to congratulate Joe Biden on his election – calling Biden and running mate Kamala Harris ‘good people.’

Romney, the Republican Party’s 2012 nominee who was defeated by Barack Obama with Biden on the ticket, issued the statement even as President Trump and his circle of allies continued to claim the election was rigged without providing evidence.   

‘Ann and I extend our congratulations to President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris,’ in a statement that was typical of presidential races going back decades but stood out in the contentious politics of 2020.

Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney became the first senior Republican figure to congratulate Joe Biden on his election win. He and wife Ann Romney sent congratulations on Twitter

 ‘We know both of them as people of good will and admirable character,’ he said after referencing his wife, Ann Romney. ‘We pray that God may bless them in the days and years ahead,’ he added.

He is the most senior elected Republican to call Biden ‘president-elect.’ 

His tweet came around 1:30 pm, after networks called the race for Biden. 

The good wishes came from the only Republican to vote for an impeachment article against Trump. Although Romney backed Trump’s Supreme Court nomination of Amy Justice Barrett, he has also called out the president on numerous occasions when he believed Trump crossed a line. He has also slammed Trump’s handling of the coronavirus.

Trump has regularly attacked Romney as a loser and a ‘RINO’ – Republican in name only. He is a popular figure in his home state of Utah, a heavily conservative state where Trump has found some opposition.

The two men dined in 2016 after Trump’s win, which followed Romney calling him a ‘con man’ and a ‘fraud.’ Trump’s team floated Romney as a potential secretary of state, then cut him loose. He would eventually be elected to the Senate from Utah, where he had a home. 

Trump famously dined with Romney during the transition and floated his name for Secretary of State but then cut him loose

Trump famously dined with Romney during the transition and floated his name for Secretary of State but then cut him loose

Romney is the only Senate Republican who voted for an impeachment article against Donald Trump

Romney is the only Senate Republican who voted for an impeachment article against Donald Trump

President Donald Trump

Former Vice President Joe Biden

Mitt Romney gave congratulations to Joe Biden after networks called his win over President Trump

Romney could be a powerful force in the new closely divided Senate. Biden has said he plans to reach out to members of both parties, and he will need some centrist Republicans to get his agenda through the chamber and confirm judicial appointments.

It stood in stark contrast to what Trump was saying, after networks declared Nevada and Pennsylvania for Biden. ‘I WON THIS ELECTION, BY A LOT!’ Trump tweeted.  In addition to seizing a lead in the Electoral College in projections made by the networks, Biden leads Trump by about 4 million votes in the popular vote. 

In a sign of how Trump’s insistence is splitting the Senate conference, Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley tweeted Saturday: ‘The media do not get to determine who the president is. The people do. When all lawful votes have been counted, recounts finished, and allegations of fraud addressed, we will know who the winner is.’ 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky on Friday said ‘of course’ Trump would concede and remove himself from office if he loses the election.  

‘We’ve had a peaceful transfer of power going back to 1792. Every four years, we’ve moved on to a new administration,’ McConnell said.

An aide said he had nothing to ask when questioned on whether McConnell had called Biden to congratulate him, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer did.  

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