Trump turns on McConnell for calling Biden president-elect

Trump’s rebuke came more than 14 hours after the Kentucky Republican delivered a speech on the Senate floor Tuesday in the aftermath of the Electoral College’s vote formalizing Biden’s victory.

“Our country has officially a president-elect and a vice president-elect,” McConnell said. “The Electoral College has spoken. So today, I want to congratulate President-elect Joe Biden.”

Trump shared a news report on McConnell’s remarks in a tweet posted shortly after midnight. In an accompanying message, he wrote: “Mitch, 75,000,000 VOTES, a record for a sitting President (by a lot). Too soon to give up. Republican Party must finally learn to fight. People are angry!”

McConnell further broke with Trump on Tuesday during a call with Republican senators, warning the lawmakers against objecting to the presidential election results when they are delivered to a joint session of Congress for certification early next year. He also referred colleagues to his floor remarks recognizing Biden as the president-elect. A spokesperson for McConnell did not provide further comment.

“I enjoyed Sen. McConnell’s floor speech,” said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) Wednesday. “I thought he was right on.”

Trump’s tweet comes as a growing number of Senate Republicans recognized Biden as the president-elect this week. In a sign that most members want to move past the 2020 election, GOP senators, including Trump ally Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), didn’t engage when asked about the president’s criticism of McConnell.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) also shrugged off the tweet.

“They’re both big boys,” said Cruz. “They can sort it out.”

In recent weeks, the president has trained his fire on Republican governors and other local officials he has deemed insufficiently supportive of his baseless claims of widespread voter fraud and scattershot legal bid to overturn the results of the election.

But his tweet Wednesday marked the first time Trump has so publicly turned on his party’s most senior Washington lawmaker for recognizing Biden as president-elect. McConnell had been reluctant to do so since the race had been officially called for Biden early last month, instead deferring to Trump’s ongoing effort to reverse the election’s outcome.