U.S. Senate leader McConnell acknowledges Biden victory; laments Trump defeat
By Richard Cowan WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S.
By Richard Cowan
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, on Tuesday congratulated Democratic President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on their Nov. 3 election victories, ending his long silence on the outcome of the presidential race.
In remarks on the Senate floor, McConnell acknowledged the Democrats' win of the White House following Monday's formal result issued by the Electoral College.
In a nearly 10-minute speech that mainly praised Republican President Donald Trump's tenure in office, McConnell closed by saying: "Today I want to congratulate President-elect Joe Biden," adding that "he has devoted himself to public service for many years."
McConnell, saying he had hoped for a "different result" in the Nov. 3 election, also said, "All Americans can take pride that our nation has a female vice president-elect for the very first time."
Since early November, McConnell has ignored pressure to acknowledge Biden's victory, saying Trump had the right to pursue legal challenges to the election outcome. He steadfastly refused to refer to Biden as president-elect.
Meanwhile, many of McConnell's fellow Republicans have echoed Trump's unfounded claims that the presidential election was stolen by domestic and foreign forces, including by tampering with electronic voting machines.
Over the past five weeks, some local elections officials have expressed fears that Trump's rhetoric and that of some of his supporters could result in violence.
On Monday, the Electoral College confirmed results that were apparent since Nov. 7 that Trump had no path to winning the election despite his repeated, unfounded claims of election fraud, which he reiterated on Monday.
Trump's verbal and Twitter attacks, a flurry of mostly unsuccessful lawsuits and public rallies in which he spoke of an illegal election result raised fears that U.S. democracy could suffer if enough Americans believed the president's accusations of fraud.
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, in a speech following McConnell's, urged Trump to "end his term with a modicum of grace and dignity."
"For the sake of our democracy, for the sake of peaceful transition of power, he should stop the shenanigans, stop the misrepresentations and acknowledge that Joe Biden will be our next president," Schumer said.
While McConnell congratulated Biden and Harris, he made no mention of whether he would work in a cooperative manner with any of the new administration's initiatives following their swearing-in on Jan. 20.
(Reporting by Richard Cowan; Editing by Franklin Paul and Jonathan Oatis)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.