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Louisiana governor: Time for people to acknowledge Biden win

December 16, 2020 GMT
President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting about the coronavirus with Gov. John Bel Edwards, ...
President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting about the coronavirus with Gov. John Bel Edwards, ...
President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting about the coronavirus with Gov. John Bel Edwards, ...

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Gov. John Bel Edwards said Wednesday “it’s well past time” for people to accept President-elect Joe Biden’s victory, even as most Republican members of Louisiana’s congressional delegation refuse to acknowledge the impending change at the White House.

Louisiana’s Democratic governor said Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry’s support of a Texas lawsuit seeking to overturn Biden’s election win and throw out millions of votes was “unfortunate.” The U.S. Supreme Court rejected the lawsuit last week.

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“I’m a lawyer. I know our courts exist to resolve disputes, but the dispute needs to be real,” Edwards said on his monthly radio call-in show, in his first detailed comments about the election’s outcome.

“If there were real evidence of the kind of voter fraud that has been alleged on a scale to make a difference in the outcome ... you would think that in all the weeks since Nov. 3 that they would have been able to produce some evidence of that,” he said. “Really, they haven’t produced any.”

Edwards, who has avoided criticizing President Donald Trump, noted that multiple state and federal courts around the country have dismissed lawsuits trying to reverse Trump’s loss to Biden.

Still, while Edwards said individuals should accept the election’s outcome, only one of the seven Republican members of Louisiana’s congressional delegation has acknowledged Biden’s victory.

In a tweet posted on Nov. 23, U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy said: “President Trump’s legal team has not presented evidence of the massive fraud which would have had to be present to overturn the election. I voted for President Trump but Joe Biden won.”

Even Biden’s decisive victory in Monday’s Electoral College vote hasn’t prompted acknowledgment from Louisiana’s GOP congressional members. A spokesperson for U.S. Sen. John Kennedy said Wednesday the senator “is continuing to watch the legal and constitutional processes, which are ongoing.”

U.S. Rep. Clay Higgins issued a statement disputing Biden’s legitimacy as president-elect.

“Joe Biden may indeed be inaugurated on January 20th, 2021. In my studied opinion, it would be an unjust inauguration, the product of a compromised presidential election. A somber day for our republic,” Higgins said.

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The offices of Republican U.S. Reps. Steve Scalise, Mike Johnson, Ralph Abraham and Garret Graves didn’t respond to requests for comment from the Associated Press about whether the congressmen accept the election results and Biden’s upcoming inauguration.

“A democracy is best served when the loser acknowledges defeat, gracefully exits and works to make sure there’s a smooth transition,” Edwards said.

He never mentioned Trump directly in his comments Wednesday.

While he’s acknowledged voting for Biden, Edwards — Louisiana’s only Democratic statewide elected official — didn’t wade into presidential campaign politics publicly ahead of the election. He said Wednesday that he doesn’t intend to travel to Washington for the January inauguration.

Edwards has maintained a working relationship with Trump and sidestepped any complaints about the Republican president’s tenure in office. Trump and members of his administration have regularly praised Edwards’ handling of the coronavirus pandemic, even though Trump campaigned unsuccessfully to oust Edwards from office in Louisiana’s 2019 gubernatorial election.

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Follow Melinda Deslatte on Twitter at http://twitter.com/melindadeslatte.