US Senate Majority Leader and senior official of the Republican party, Mitch McConnell has congratulated Joe Biden on becoming US president-elect – in a significant blow to Donald Trump.
Mr McConnell said the Electoral College – a group of people who voted to formally confirm the result of last month’s election – “had spoken”.
“Many of us had hoped the presidential election would yield a different result,” he admitted.
“But our system of government has the processes to determine who will be sworn in on 20 January.”
The Senate Leader described Democrat Mr Biden, who was Vice President under Barack Obama and also a former senator himself, as someone “who has devoted himself to public service for many years”.
He also congratulated Vice President-elect, Kamala Harris, saying “all Americans can take pride that our nation has a female vice president-elect for the very first time”.
Before those remarks, however, he poured praise on Mr Trump’s “endless” accomplishments during the last four years.
Another Republican Senator, Roy Blunt, who is also the chairman of the inaugural committee, also said the inauguration panel will “deal with” Mr Biden “as the president-elect”.
Just last week, the Republicans on the same committee had declined to publicly do so.
Mr Biden’s inauguration ceremony is set to be very different from the usual ceremonies used to induct new presidents into office, given the coronavirus pandemic.
The committee organising it said they wanted to ensure it “honours and resembles sacred American traditions while keeping Americans safe and preventing the spread of COVID-19”.
“Vigorous health and safety protocols” will be followed and “the ceremony’s footprint will be extremely limited, and the parade that follows will be re-imagined”, they clarified.
US residents are also being urged not to travel to attend the ceremony at the Capitol in Washington DC and instead watch from home.
Meanwhile, countries that elected to wait till the Electoral College officially confirms Joe Biden as President-elect before extending congratulatory messages have begun doing so.
Russia led the way with the Kremlin announcing that Russian President, Vladimir Putin has congratulated Joe Biden on his victory in the U.S. presidential election.
“For my part, I am ready for interaction and contact with you,” the Kremlin cited Putin as saying in a statement.
“Putin wished the president-elect every success and expressed confidence that Russia and the United States, which have a special responsibility for global security and stability, could, despite their differences, really help to solve the many problems and challenges facing the world,” the Kremlin said.
Brazilian President, Jair Bolsonaro also congratulated U.S. President-elect Joe Biden for his Nov. 3 election victory.
“Greetings to the President Joe Biden, with my best wishes and the hope that the USA will remain ‘the land of the free and the home of the brave,’” Bolsonaro said in a statement published by Brazil’s Foreign Ministry.
“I will be ready to work with you and continue to build a Brazil-USA alliance, in defence of sovereignty, democracy and freedom around the world, as well as in trade integration.”