Biden Has ‘Clear Mandate,’ Aides Say as Electoral College Votes
(Bloomberg) -- President-elect Joe Biden will enter the White House with a “clear mandate” from the American people, his top advisers said as they took a victory lap to detail his win just before the Electoral College votes Monday to secure his victory.
Even as President Donald Trump and his supporters continue to reject the outcome, Biden’s team expressed confidence that the president-elect will be able to turn the page and follow through on his campaign pledge to unify the country and keep his promises, beginning with fighting Covid-19 and providing economic relief.
“Joe Biden won decisively and has a clear mandate to lead this country,” campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon, who’ll join the Biden White House as deputy chief of staff, said during a Sunday press briefing. “If you look across any metric that we could put together, and in the context of history, it is hard to see anything but a historic victory for the president-elect.”
Biden’s Electoral College win, 306 votes to Trump’s 232, will be formalized as electors in each state vote on Monday. He plans to address the nation in the evening about the vote and “the strength and resilience of our democracy,” his transition office said.
Even though the outcome has been decided and more than 50 post-election lawsuits challenging the results by Trump’s campaign and its allies were rejected, the president and some of his supporters continue to say he won, based on groundless claims of widespread voter fraud.
Trump said he’ll continue with legal challenges even after the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday rejected a bid by Texas to nullify the election results in four pivotal states.
Campaign chief strategist Mike Donilon pointed to a post-election poll from Gallup that put Biden’s approval rating at 55%, even as many Republican lawmakers, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, haven’t publicly acknowledged the Democrat as president-elect.
“There’s a very strong story that is running through this country, which is the country wants to come together. And the president-elect is determined to lead the country to do that,” said Donilon, who’ll be a senior White House adviser.
He predicted that some congressional Republicans will choose to cooperate: “It’s going to be in the interest of the country, it’s going to be in their own self-interest, to get on board and not to get in the way.”
The Democrat’s win came amid record turnout, with more than 158 million votes cast. Biden drew over 7 million more votes than Trump, giving him a 4.5 percentage point victory, the largest margin for a challenger over an incumbent president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s 1932 win over Herbert Hoover.
“I know there’s 74 million folks who voted for Trump -- and there are 81 million who voted for Biden,” Donilon said with a slight laugh.
Biden’s ability to put new states, like Georgia, in play for Democrats may extend to future elections, O’Malley Dillon said. He was the first Democratic presidential candidate since the 1990s to win both Arizona and Georgia, and he narrowed Trump’s 2016 margins against Hillary Clinton in Texas and North Carolina.
O’Malley Dillon said Biden raised more than $800 million online from 5.7 million grassroots supporters whose average contribution was $38. In all, more than 2 million people volunteered for the campaign, which at its peak had nearly 4,000 staff, making more than 28 million voter interactions.
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