'Abject failure of leadership': Kentucky law professor blasts McConnell for refusing to acknowledge Biden win in blistering op-ed

'Abject failure of leadership': Kentucky law professor blasts McConnell for refusing to acknowledge Biden win in blistering op-ed
President Donald J. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence walk with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Senator Roy Blunt, R-Mo., Tuesday, March 10, 2020, upon their arrival to the U.S. Capitol for a Senate Republican policy lunch. (Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour)

Although Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — unlike some other allies of President Donald Trump — has not flat-out accused Democrats of stealing the 2020 presidential election, the Kentucky Republican has not acknowledged Joe Biden as president-elect and has said that Trump is "100% within his rights to look into allegations of irregularities and weigh his legal options." And law professor Stephen B. Bright, who is originally from Lexington, Kentucky but now teaches at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut and Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., slams McConnell for his naked partisanship and divisiveness in a blistering op-ed published by Kentucky.com the day before Thanksgiving.

Biden, in addition to winning 306 electoral votes, has defeated Trump by at least 6 million in the popular vote. And McConnell's refusal to acknowledge Biden's victory, Bright stresses, is "an abject failure of leadership that enables a serious threat to democracy."

The law professor explains, "McConnell's position would be reasonable if there was a legitimate reason to question the outcome of the election in any state that would make a difference. But that is not the case. This is not like the election of 2000, when there were issues regarding about 500 votes separating George W. Bush and Al Gore in Florida that would determine the outcome of the national election for president."

Some Republicans are comparing the lawsuits that Trump's 2020 campaign has filed in multiple swing states to the Bush v. Gore case that followed the 2000 presidential election. But that comparison, as Bright points out, is mixing apples and oranges. In Bush v. Gore, then-Vice President Al Gore was only questioning the vote count in one state, Florida, and he never alleged voter fraud. Gore eventually conceded to then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush, whereas Trump and his personal attorney, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, obviously have no intention of acknowledging Biden as president-elect.

Bright notes, "Trump's lawyers have filed frivolous lawsuits that have been laughed out of one court after another. He and his lawyers have made wild claims of massive fraud at press conferences, but they have not included most of those claims in their lawsuits because they have no evidence to support them. Pressed by a federal judge in Pennsylvania last week, Rudolph W. Giuliani acknowledged, 'This is not a fraud case.' The judge threw the case out on Saturday in a scathing opinion saying Trump's lawyers had presented 'speculative accusations…. unsupported by evidence' and 'strained legal arguments' that were without merit."

Moreover, Bright adds, a division of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has described the 2020 presidential election as "the most secure in American history" and said that there isn't any "evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes or was in any way compromised." And McConnell, the law professor argues, is doing his country a huge disservice by refusing to acknowledge that Biden's victory was legitimate.

"These times call for leadership," Bright writes. "One would hope that McConnell, 78, who has just been elected to another six years in the Senate, would provide it. But McConnell refuses to recognize the outcome of the election. As he has done so often, McConnell has put politics and party ahead of the national interest."

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