U.S. Senate leader McConnell acknowledges Biden winner of U.S. presidency

WASHINGTON, Dec 15 (Reuters) - U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, on Tuesday congratulated Democratic President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on their Nov. 3 election victories, ending his long silence on the outcome of the presidential race.

In remarks on the Senate floor, McConnell acknowledged the Democrats' win of the White House following Monday's formal result issued by the Electoral College.

In a nearly 10-minute speech that mainly praised Republican President Donald Trump's tenure in office, McConnell closed by saying: "Today I want to congratulate President-elect Joe Biden," adding that "he has devoted himself to public service for many years."

McConnell, saying he had hoped for a "different result" in the Nov. 3 election, also said, "All Americans can take pride that our nation has a female vice president-elect for the very first time."

Since early November, McConnell has ignored pressure to acknowledge Biden's victory, saying Trump had the right to pursue legal challenges to the election outcome.

On Monday, the Electoral College confirmed results that were apparent since Nov. 7 that Trump had no path to winning the election despite his repeated, unfounded claims of election fraud, which he reiterated on Monday. read more

Reporting by Richard Cowan, Editing by Franklin Paul

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