Sen. Blunt deflects on calling Biden ‘president-elect’

“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 said.

Blunt referred to President Donald Trump as “president-elect” in a statement released the day after the 2016 election where he congratulated Trump on his win over Hillary Clinton.

A small but growing number of Republican senators, including Sens. Lamar Alexander (Tenn.) and Pat Toomey (Pa.), have publicly conceded in recent weeks that Trump lost, even though Trump’s campaign has continued to mount — and lose — legal fights challenging states’ election results with claims of widespread voter fraud. Many other Republican leaders have not acknowledged Biden’s win, drawing criticism from those who say they’re enabling the president as he undermines confidence in American institutions.

Blunt, who previously oversaw elections when he was Missouri’s secretary of state, declined to say if he had seen evidence of fraud in November’s election, but said Trump’s team of lawyers had failed to present evidence “that was acceptable to any court.”

“I think the system, frankly, was more secure than it’s ever been before. And the president deserves some credit for that,” Blunt said.

Blunt said that while he hasn’t had any conversations with Trump about Biden’s inauguration ceremony in January 2021, he hopes the president will attend.

“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,” Blunt said. “I think there is a big role for President Trump. And I hope he embraces that and looks at how you move to whatever comes next for him, assuming that this election works out the way it appears it will.”