Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) on Sunday declined to refer to Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden as president-elect, saying that while Biden’s team now has access to transition funds, the title will only be formalized after the Electoral College votes next month due to contested election results.
In an interview with CNN’s “State of the Union,” Blunt, chairman of the congressional inaugural committee, explained that the process of electing the president-elect—a title the former vice president has adopted in his Twitter bio—will last into early next year.
“Well, the president-elect will be the president-elect when the electors vote for him. There is no official job of president-elect,” the Missouri Republican told CNN’s Dana Bash.
A number of news outlets have declared Biden the winner of the 2020 presidential election. The Epoch Times won’t declare a winner until all results are certified and any legal challenges are resolved.
While media outlets can make their own projections as to the winner of the election, state electors and the Electoral College are the bodies that are officially tasked with declaring a presidential winner. Each state has different deadlines for when officials must certify their election results, and the Electoral College votes on Dec. 14. The Joint Session of Congress will then read the votes on Jan. 6, 2021.
“The president-elect technically has to be elected president by the electors. That happens in the middle of December, and then, Jan. 6, I’m one of the four members of the Congress that participates in the joint session that decides that those electoral votes are fully accepted,” Blunt added. “And, of course, that is when this process is over, when those votes are accepted and counted.”
When asked by Bash about whether President Donald Trump is “undermining the democratic process” by questioning whether there was voter fraud, Blunt said: “I think the democratic process is strong and can certainly survive this discussion.”
“When the states have certified, when this process is over, that’s when you come to a conclusion,” Blunt continued. “That’s why these things are set up in that way.”
Blunt said that Trump has a “big role” to play in the coming weeks for Republicans.
“I have certainly encouraged his staff to look at the transition now, look at the opportunity in Georgia to help us win these Senate seats, look at what the president can do—if the president is leaving the White House, as he says he will do if he loses the Electoral College vote, to help us win back the House in 2022,” he said.
The president vowed to prove that he won the 2020 presidential election after the General Services Administration (GSA) indicated in a letter that it had made some transition resources (pdf) available for Biden.
GSA Administrator Emily Murphy in her letter explicitly stated that the presidency has not been decided, and that the winner of the presidential election is still to be determined by the electoral process as detailed in the Constitution.
Murphy also added that she was threatened to announce the start of the transition process prematurely before independently deciding to issue the letter on Nov. 23.
“Our case STRONGLY continues, we will keep up the good fight, and I believe we will prevail!” Trump wrote in a Twitter post last week.
Election integrity researcher Matt Braynard, who is also a former Trump official, said in a Nov. 29 tweet that he was contacted by the FBI for evidence of potential crimes in the 2020 election.
The evidence was collected by the Voter Integrity Project (VIP) led by Braynard, former data and strategy director for President Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign.
“By Tuesday, we will have delivered to the agency all of our data, including names, addresses, phone numbers, etc.,” he said.
His account was backed by the Amistad Project of the Thomas More Society, a conservative nonprofit that says it retained Braynard to conduct the work.
An FBI spokesperson told The Epoch Times that “in keeping with DOJ standard practice, the FBI neither confirms nor denies the existence of any investigation.”
Blunt meanwhile told CNN’s Bash that while he doesn’t believe the election was “rigged” against Trump, “there were some things that were done that shouldn’t have been done.”
“And I think there was some element of voter fraud as there is in every election. But I don’t have any reason to believe that the numbers are there that would have made that difference” in the outcome, Blunt added.
He praised Trump for pushing efforts to secure the election, like having homeland security encourage states to use paper ballots.
“I think the system, frankly, was more secure than it’s ever been before. And the president deserves some credit for that,” Blunt said.
Petr Svab contributed to this report.