US Electoral College has spoken: McConnell

US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has congratulated Democrat Joe Biden, calling him the president-elect and saying the Electoral College “has spoken”.

The Republican leader’s statement delivered in a speech on the Senate floor ends weeks of silence over President Donald Trump’s defeat.

It comes after electors met on Monday and affirmed Biden’s election win.

“Many of us had hoped the presidential election would yield a different result,” McConnell said.

“But our system of government has the processes to determine who will be sworn in on January 20. The Electoral College has spoken.”

McConnell prefaced his remarks with praise for Trump’s four years in office, saying Trump and Vice President Mike Pence “deserve our thanks”.

Earlier on Tuesday, it was reported that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo planned to meet this week with his designated successor, Antony Blinken, in what could be the first face-to-face cabinet-level transition contact between the outgoing Trump administration and Biden’s incoming national security team.

Two people familiar with the plans said Pompeo and Blinken are tentatively scheduled to meet on Thursday at the State Department.

Pompeo has been one of Trump’s strongest defenders in the administration and took criticism for saying shortly after the November 3 vote that he was preparing for “a second Trump administration”.

Pompeo’s decision to meet with Blinken reflects a growing acceptance among Republicans that Biden won the election and that Trump’s challenges to the result will fail.

Pompeo made a point when he was nominated to replace his fired predecessor, Rex Tillerson, to speak with and seek advice from all his living predecessors including Hillary Clinton and John Kerry.

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