President-elect Joe Biden, campaigning Tuesday in Georgia for Democratic Senate candidates Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, slammed the state’s Republican incumbents as a pair of lawmakers who “get in the way,” and urged voters to elect his party’s choices, admitting he needs them in the Senate if he wants to enact any of his agenda.
Biden’s appearance at the drive-in rally in Atlanta was his first in six weeks. He repeatedly suggested that large chunks of his policy agenda hang in the balance of the two critical races that will determine control of the Senate. If Democrats win both, they will take control of the chamber.
“I need two senators from this state who want to get something done,” Biden said, “not two senators who are just going to get in the way.”
Biden repeatedly hit the two Republican incumbents, Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, over their support for efforts by President Donald Trump and the state of Texas — which filed a suit seeking to invalidate Biden's wins in four battleground states, including Georgia — to overturn the results.
“Your two Republican senators, they stood by, in fact, your two Republican senators fully embraced what Texas was telling the Supreme Court — nullifying nearly 5 million Georgia votes," Biden said.
“You might want to remember that come Jan. 5,” Biden added, referring to the date of the runoff elections.
And he touted Ossoff and Warnock — who both spoke at the tally, along with Stacey Abrams and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms — as senators who would “fight for” and “represent” Georgians.
“They won’t put Texas first, Donald Trump first,” he said. “They’ll put you first.”
Biden, referring to the fact that his victory in the state — the first time a Democrat carried Georgia in a presidential race since 1992 — helped him win, told voters that in January, “you’re going to have to do it again.”
“The lives of every Georgian still depend on what you’re doing,” he said. “You still need to vote as if your life depends on it, because it does,” he added, reprising a line he often used during the presidential campaign.
If Democrats retake control of the Senate, Biden will be more likely to accomplish more of his agenda since Democrats also hold the House. If Republicans retain control of the Senate, however, Biden will have a more difficult path to getting things done under a divided government.
The Biden team has invested $5 million in the Democrats' runoff effort and have also helped them raise another $10 million for their campaigns.
In other transition news:
- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., acknowledged Biden's election victory for the first time Tuesday morning in remarks on the Senate floor, saying that while he and others hoped for a different election result, "our system of government has processes to determine who will be sworn in on Jan. 20. The Electoral College has spoken. So today I want to congratulate President-elect Joe Biden. The president-elect is no stranger to the Senate. He's devoted himself to public service for many years. I also want to congratulate the vice president-elect, our colleague from California, Sen. Harris." Biden later told reporters that he had spoken with McConnell on Tuesday.
- Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will hold a virtual roundtable Tuesday with Democratic attorneys general.
- Biden plans to nominate former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg as transportation secretary and former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm to lead the Department of Energy.
- President Donald Trump has no public events Tuesday.
Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday that he thinks Biden and Harris should receive a Covid-19 vaccination as soon as possible. "For security reasons, I really feel strongly that we should get them vaccinated as soon as we possibly can. You want him fully protected as he enters into the presidency in January, so that would be my strong recommendation," he said on ABC's "Good Morning America."
- Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized Biden's victory, sending him a "congratulatory telegram" that wished the incoming president well and said he hoped the two could forge a successful working relationship, according to a statement on the Kremlin's website.
- During a video call with grassroots supporters Monday night, Biden revealed that he has a cold, which is why his voice sounded raspier than usual in his speech about the Electoral College. He also said during the call that seven senior GOP senators have called him saying that they want to work with him. He added that some had reached out for him after the Electoral College vote was made official.
- Rep. Paul Mitchell of Michigan, who is retiring, said Monday that he is leaving the GOP and is becoming an independent because Republicans have not challenged Trump's attempts to overturn the election.
- Trump announced on Twitter Monday evening that Attorney General William Barr will step down next week.