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.”