U.S. Sen. Susan Collins on Monday congratulated President-elect Joe Biden on his victory, joining a handful of other Republicans who have acknowledged the Democratic nominee’s victory over President Donald Trump, who continues to deny the result.
Senate Republicans have been divided as Trump has refused to accept the results, filing a flurry of lawsuits in key states while claiming widespread fraud or miscounting, though no evidence of that has emerged. Collins, who was easily re-elected last week in a nationally targeted race but never endorsed Trump, joins a small group of Republicans who have affirmed Biden’s win.
In a statement Monday, Collins congratulated Biden, who was her Senate colleague for more than a decade, saying he “loves this country, and I wish him every success.”
“Presidential transitions are important, and the President-elect and the Vice-President-elect should be given every opportunity to ensure that they are ready to govern on January 20,” she added.
Other prominent Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, have not publicly acknowledged Biden’s victory, while some, including Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Ted Cruz of Texas, have urged Trump to continue with lawsuits. Democrats have raised concerns about Trump’s refusal to accept the election results and argued his delay could make it more difficult for Biden to govern next year.
As of Monday afternoon, the General Services Agency, a federal agency tasked with certifying election results, has not affirmed Biden’s victory, which is necessary for the Democrat’s transition team to begin communicating with federal agencies under established laws.
Collins was the only member of Maine’s congressional delegation who had not issued a statement over the weekend after Biden declared victory on Saturday. While congratulating the former vice president on his “apparent victory” on Monday, the Republican senator said she understood that Trump and others “have questions about the results in certain states.”
“There is a process in place to challenge those results and, consistent with that process, the President should be afforded the opportunity to do so,” Collins said.