USA TODAY’S coverage of the 2020 election continues this week after Joe Biden won a bitterly fought presidential election and states work to finish counting their remaining ballots.
Be sure to refresh this page often to get the latest information on how things are going.
USA TODAY will have live election information from across the country.
John Bolton accuses Republicans of ‘coddling’ Trump on election, blasts Esper firing
President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, John Bolton, said Republicans should urge the president to concede the election and accused GOP lawmakers of “coddling” Trump while he “trashes the U.S. electoral system.”
Trump has refused to concede his loss to Democrat Joe Biden, falsely suggested there was widespread fraud and directed his campaign to challenge the results in court.
In a stinging Washington Post editorial, Bolton said Trump has not provided any evidence to support his claims of fraud and is causing “grievous harm” to Americans’ confidence in the country’s constitutional system.
Bolton said Republicans are kowtowing to Trump because they want to win the two U.S. Senate seats in Georgia, which will be decided in a Jan. 5 runoff. But, he argued, the GOP’s refusal to stand up to Trump will do short and long-term damage to the party.
“Coddling proponents plead that an enraged Trump will jeopardize the chances of victory in the Georgia runoffs,” he wrote. “But that is true only if party leaders do not speak up, explaining to voters what the real facts are. Do we in the GOP not trust our own base enough to absorb the truth?”
“ … The more Republican leaders kowtow, the more Trump believes he is still in control and the less likely he will do what normal presidents do: make a gracious concession speech; fully cooperate with the president-elect in a smooth transition process; and validate the election process itself by joining his successor at the Jan. 20 inauguration,” Bolton writes.
He said it’s a matter of U.S. national security to begin the transition process and said Republicans’ “passivity risks additional negative consequences for the country,” pointing to Trump’s decision to fire his Defense Secretary Mark Esper earlier this week. He said Washington is “filled with rumors” that FBI and CIA leaders are next on Trump’s chopping block.
– Deirdre Shesgreen
‘FRAUD’ FACT CHECKS:
Biden honors veterans in Philadelphia remembrance
President-elect Joe Biden paid his respects on Veterans Day Wednesday at the Philadelphia Korean War Memorial.
Biden, along with Dr. Jill Biden, visited the memorial at Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia for 15 minutes, and was accompanied by Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney.
During Biden’s visit, a local honor guard posted the colors, Private First Class Albert El offered a prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance was recited. The president-elect also placed a wreath at the memorial.
More than 100 people gathered at the memorial during Biden’s visit. He did not make any public remarks but took photos with several groups of people.
“The women and men who have fought and sacrificed for our country are heroes, and the rest of us owe them an unpayable debt. They have earned our thanks and, above all, our respect,” Biden said in a statement.
In his statement, Biden also paid respects to his late-son Beau, who was a major in the Delaware Army National Guard.
“We prayed every night and morning for his safety, and we missed him at every family gathering or when tucking his children in at night. It was hard. It hurt. These are challenges most American families never have to face,” Biden said.
“And yet, Jill and I were constantly in awe when visiting with wounded service members at Christmas or hosting veterans in our home for dinners, at the pride our military members and veterans feel in their service, and at their matchless sense of duty,” he added. “They are the absolute best of our country.”
– Rebecca Morin
Trump marks Veteran’s Day with wreath laying at Arlington National Cemetery
President Donald Trump paid Veterans Day respects Wednesday with the traditional wreath-laying at Arlington National Cemetery, his first public event in nearly a week.
Trump, who has stayed out of the public eye while contesting Joe Biden’s election, did not make remarks at the annual National Day of Observance. As rain fell, the president placed a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Neither Trump nor Vice President Mike Pence wore a mask. Arlington National Cemetery said in a Twitter post that “all visitors are to follow social distancing requirements and wear face coverings while on cemetery grounds. Anyone not having a face covering in their possession at cemetery entry points will not be granted access to the cemetery.”
Since Election Day, aside from some weekend rounds of golf, Trump has appeared in public only twice, both angry speeches denouncing the election and pledging legal fights against the process that elected Biden.
Meanwhile, the normally outspoken Trump has spent his time inside the White House talking with aides, watching news reports, and tweeting complaints about the election.
– David Jackson
Georgia Secretary of State: There will be a hand recount in every county
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, said Wednesday the state would conduct a hand recount of presidential election results in every county because of the close margin.
President Donald Trump’s campaign requested a hand recount Tuesday.
Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., who leads the campaign’s recount effort, said Tuesday the recount was necessary because of “widespread allegations of voter irregularities,” though he did not present evidence.
President-elect Joe Biden currently holds on to a roughly 14,000-vote lead in the state, or 0.3%. Under Georgia law, candidates can request a recount if the margin of victory is less than 0.5%.
“We’re doing this because it’s what makes the most sense with the national significance of this race and the closeness of this race,” Raffensperger said after being asked whether the hand recount was being done because of the request from the Trump campaign.
The state expects to complete the recount and certify its results by Nov. 20, he said. Georgia pays for recounts.
Raffensperger applauded the Justice Department and Attorney General Barr’s efforts to probe possible fraud, noting the federal government has additional resources that his office does not. “We want to make sure that the only people that vote are legal voters,” he added.
He encouraged those with knowledge of any election fraud to come forward.
Georgia’s two incumbent Republican senators, Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, issued a statement Monday calling on Raffensperger to resign over his handling of the state’s close election, alleging misconduct in his election administration.
Raffensperger said in a statement, although the senators had called for him to be fired, “that is not going to happen. The voters of Georgia hired me, and the voters will be the one to fire me.”
– Nicholas Wu and Christal Hayes
Trump, Sullivan win Alaska, officially leaving control of Senate to Georgia
Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan has been reelected to his Alaska seat, holding off a challenge from Independent Al Gross.
The race was thought to be an uphill battle for Democrats, as Trump carried Alaska by nearly 15 points in 2016, but Trump’s handling of the pandemic and Sullivan’s narrow victory in 2014 put his seat on a list of potential pickups for liberals. President Donalrump was also declared the winner of the state.
The race was one of the last chances for Democrats to take one of the two wins they need in order to take control of the Senate majority. The call in Alaska means the last remaining chances lie in Georgia, where two seats are up for grabs and will be decided in runoff elections in January – leaving the Senate majority unclear for weeks. Georgia has historically been a red state but Biden is currently leading as a recount starts due to the close margin between him and Trump.
Democrats bested Republicans in Colorado, where John Hickenlooper beat Republican Sen. Cory Gardner, and in Arizona, where Sen. Martha McSally was defeated by Democrat Mark Kelly. But the party faced a setback in Alabama, where Republicans captured the Senate seat held by Sen. Doug Jones and continued to see losses across the country, including in states where Democrats were polling much better than incumbent Republicans.
– Christal Hayes
2 Republican governors slam Trump for delaying presidential transition
Two Republican governors from traditionally Democratic-leaning states slammed President Donald Trump on Tuesday for delaying the transition to President-elect Joe Biden.
In Maryland, Gov. Larry Hogan said there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud as the president and his allies have alleged, and told reporters Trump’s challenges to the election were “really dangerous” during the pandemic and economic recession.
Hogan said he had not “seen anything that would in any way change the outcome of the election.”
“We’ve got to move on,” said Hogan.
Hogan wrote in Ronald Reagan on his presidential ballot in 2020 and put his father, former Rep. Lawrence Hogan, on his ballot in 2016.
And in Massachusetts, Gov. Charlie Baker said Trump’s allegations of voter fraud were “baseless,” and called Trump’s employment of the Department of Justice to investigate voting irregularities “wildly inappropriate.”
“I can’t think of a worse time to stall a transition than amid a deadly pandemic,” he said.
Baker left his presidential ballot blank in 2020, just as he did in 2016.
Republican lawmakers in Congress have mostly supported Trump’s refusal to concede the election. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday that Trump was “100% within his rights to look into allegations of irregularities and weigh his legal options.”
– Nicholas Wu
Trump and Pence to take part in Veterans Day event while Biden meets with transition advisors
President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence will appear together at Arlington National Cemetery outside Washington for a Veterans Day event on Wednesday as the pair refuses to concede the presidential election to Joe Biden.
The two will appear together publicly after President-elect Biden was projected as the winner of the presidential election over the weekend. The president has refused to concede and his allies are challenging election results in key swing states, claiming fraud, despite there being no evidence of widespread wrong.
Biden will meet with transition advisors Wednesday as he continues to chart out his transition ahead of Inauguration Day on Jan. 20. On Tuesday, he said Trump’s unwillingness to concede isn’t slowing down his transition.
“I just think it’s an embarrassment, quite frankly,” Biden said of Trump. “How can I say this tactfully? I think it will not help the president’s legacy.”
– Sean Rossman
Pennsylvania Secretary of State says only 10,000 ballots received after Election Day
The Pennsylvania Secretary of State said Tuesday that around 10,000 ballots arrived after Election Day but by Nov. 6.
This is significant as a lawsuit from the Trump campaign criticizes the three-day extension of the deadline for receiving absentee and mail votes, from Election Day until Nov. 6.
That change, recommended by the secretary of state’s office and upheld by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, is now the subject of a state GOP request for an emergency injunction by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Even if those approximately 10,000 ballots were all rejected, Biden would still win Pennsylvania. He is currently leading in the state by more than 47,000 votes.
– Savannah Behrmann
Coons: GOP senators asking him to congratulate Biden for them since they can’t publicly do so
Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., said Tuesday his GOP colleagues are privately asking him to congratulate Biden on winning the election, because they can’t publicly do so.
Coons told CNN it’s “past time for Republican leaders to stand up and say, ‘We should accept the results of this election.’ “
“They call me to say, you know, ‘Congratulations, please convey my well wishes to the President-elect, but I can’t say that publicly yet,'” Coons said of his Republican colleagues, though he didn’t cite any Republicans by name.
Despite passing the 270 electoral votes needed to become the 46th president of the United States, most GOP senators are refusing to publicly acknowledge Biden as the President-Elect.
– Savannah Behrmann