Senator Ron Johnson, a Republican from Wisconsin, rejected a reporter’s question whether he had congratulated President-elect Joe Biden on his victory over President Donald Trump in last week’s presidential election.
Although Biden secured at least 290 votes – more than the 270 needed to win the electoral college – Trump refused to back down. The president and many of his GOP supporters have made unsubstantiated allegations that Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris won the election through widespread electoral fraud without providing any evidence.
In a video of a Tuesday interaction, Johnson can be seen walking quickly past reporters when asked: “Senator, have you congratulated Vice President Biden yet?
“No,” Johnson replies with a laugh as he walks on.
“Why not?” the reporter asks.
“There is no reason to congratulate him,” replies the Republican senator as he opens a door and enters another room.
Washington Newsday asks Johnson’s press to comment further, but they do not respond immediately. Biden carried Johnson’s state in the Midwest by just over 20,000 votes – a 0.7 percent lead.
Only four Republican senators – including Susan Collins of Maine, Mitt Romney of Utah, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Ben Sasse of Nebraska – have publicly congratulated Biden since he was declared the winner of the presidential election on Saturday by Associated Press, Fox News and other television stations. Every living president – including former Republican President George W. Bush – has also congratulated Biden on his victory.
Meanwhile, Trump’s campaign has launched a series of legal challenges, so far with little success, in several states with different battlefields. Analysts have noted that even if some of these legal challenges have been successful, none of them seem able to knock down enough votes to destroy the election results. Overall, the campaign has provided no evidence of fraud, only a litany of unsubstantiated allegations. Trump’s campaign would have to overturn tens of thousands of votes in several states to be declared the winner.
International observers from the Organization of American States said they had seen no incidents of electoral irregularities or fraud, as Trump and his campaign claimed, the Associated Press reported. “However, it is vital that candidates act responsibly by presenting and arguing legitimate claims in court, and not unfounded or harmful speculation in the public media,” the OAS said in its report.
Biden told reporters on Tuesday that it was “not of great importance” whether Trump acknowledged his victory or not. The president-elect assured that his transition team is moving forward rapidly, with or without recognition from the Trump administration. “We’re already starting the transition, we’re on a good path,” said Biden, noting that “nothing will stop that.