U.S. Sen. Moran says review of voting affirms President-elect Biden winner of 2020 race

GOP President Trump not yet willing to concede race to Democratic challenger

Kansas Republican U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran released a statement to constituents saying President Donald Trump has the right to wage a legal fight for a fair counting of votes in the presidential election, but should offer presumed Democrat Joe Biden the national security briefings and other support common to transition to a new president. (Submitted)
Kansas Republican U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran released a statement to constituents saying President Donald Trump has the right to wage a legal fight for a fair counting of votes in the presidential election, but should offer presumed Democrat Joe Biden the national security briefings and other support common to transition to a new president. (Submitted)

TOPEKA — U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran referred to Democrat Joe Biden as president-elect Tuesday by pointing to state election certifications affirming defeat of President Donald Trump and by recommending the future president have benefit of national security briefings and access to federal agency information.

“Every indication that I know is that Joe Biden is the president-elect,” Moran said. “We’ve seen just in recent days a number of states that were thought to be in controversy or contention, where the decision has been made and as a result of those certifications, I think he becomes the president-elect.”

Moran, a Kansas Republican who plans to seek re-election to the Senate in 2022, had resisted use of that title for three weeks due to Trump’s aggressive effort to contest preliminary results of the election with a series of unsubstantiated fraud claims. The Trump administration placed a hold on transition activities that occur whenever the White House changes hands.

The senator said during a visit to Topeka that U.S. elected officials and citizens should pull together for the good of the nation as President-elect Biden prepared to take office in January.

Moran’s decision to embrace the president-elect label coincided with issuance Monday of a letter by Emily Murphy, administrator of the General Services Administration, declaring Biden the apparent victor and enabling the transition to formally commence.

Trump didn’t concede on Twitter, but told followers he accepted steps taken by Murphy to initiate protocols for transfer of power. Neither referred to Biden as the president-elect in statements.

Trump’s attorneys waged an extensive legal battle since the election to challenge results in states declared for Biden. His legal team’s arguments have been rejected by a slew of judges and vote recounts haven’t materially changed the outcome in key states.

Moran and U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas hadn’t joined Senate colleagues, business leaders and international officials who suggested Trump concede to Biden and stop trying to undermine the election process with questionable assertions of widespread cheating.

On Monday night, Moran sent a newsletter to constituents that said Trump had the right to request recounts and file election lawsuits in the quest for accuracy.

“That process will soon be completed, and we must all respect the results of a free and fair election,” Moran said. “In the meantime, the normal national security briefings and transition courtesies should be granted.”

Moran said the nation couldn’t afford to spend the next four years divided over who won the 2020 presidential election.

Democrat Hillary Clinton conceded after the 2016 election and urged her supporters to “accept the result,” but Moran said skepticism about Trump’s legitimacy followed him throughout his years as president.

“In America, elections are sacred — the foundation of democratic government,” Moran said. “The orderly transfer of power is an enduring symbol of a government of the people, by the people and for the people.”

Roberts, who is retiring in January after deciding not to seek re-election, told reporters last week the General Services Administration “probably” should move forward with the process of ascertainment, which is necessary for the formal presidential transition to begin after the general election.

On Nov. 6, U.S. Sen.-elect Roger Marshall, who was elected to replace Roberts, said he donated $20,000 to the Republican National Committee’s legal fund to support work in battleground states pivotal in determining outcome of the presidential race.

“Every legal vote should be counted. And it should not be hard. Transparency should not be hard,” Marshall said at that time. “It’s necessary in earning the American people’s trust. It’s important that every claim of fraud is fully investigated. And I’m confident that the president’s team will take every action necessary to ensure our democracy is protected.”

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Tim Carpenter
Tim Carpenter has reported on Kansas for 35 years. He covered the Capitol for 16 years at the Topeka Capital-Journal and previously worked for the Lawrence Journal-World and United Press International. He has been recognized for investigative reporting on Kansas government and politics. He won the Kansas Press Association's Victor Murdock Award six times. The William Allen White Foundation honored him four times with its Burton Marvin News Enterprise Award. The Kansas City Press Club twice presented him its Journalist of the Year Award and more recently its Lifetime Achievement Award. He earned an agriculture degree at Kansas State University and grew up on a small dairy and beef cattle farm in Missouri. He is an amateur woodworker and drives Studebaker cars.
Noah Taborda
Noah Taborda started his journalism career in public radio at KBIA in Columbia, Missouri, covering local government and producing an episode of the podcast Show Me The State while earning his bachelor’s degree in radio broadcasting at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. Noah then made a short move to Kansas City, Missouri, to work at KCUR as an intern on the talk show Central Standard and then in the newsroom, reporting on daily news and feature stories.