U. S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn, a stalwart supporter of President Donald Trump, on Friday referred to Joe Biden as the country's "president-elect," a comment her staff later said was a mistake.
Blackburn made the comments Friday evening live on ABC News, where she was being interviewed by Juju Chang.
The remark placed her among just a handful of Republican senators signaling acknowledgement of Biden's projected victory.
Chang asked Blackburn whether she had been in contact with Biden to congratulate him, as president-elect, on his victory.
"I have not spoken with the president-elect," Blackburn said. "We did have the vice president come to the floor, the vice president-elect come to the floor this week to cast a vote. I was presiding at the time. Didn't get to speak with her."
U. S. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-California, is projected to become the nation's first female vice president.
Later Friday night, a spokesperson for Blackburn said the comment was a mistake and that Blackburn had "been very clear" on her position about the election outcome.
"She simply misspoke — it's nothing more," said Abigail Sigler, a campaign spokesperson for Blackburn. Blackburn's Senate staff did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Sigler emailed to clarify after this story published.
The Tennessee senator's comments Friday stand in stark contrast to remarks she has made the past two weeks, suggesting that Trump was still likely to be reelected president despite Biden leading both the popular vote and in the Electoral College, based on results that have not yet been certified in every state.
Blackburn has helped raise funds for the Trump campaign's court challenges. Despite launching more than a couple dozen legal challenges to election outcomes in multiple states, Republicans have failed to gain traction in court to prove massive voter fraud or other irregularities that would change the outcome of the election.
"I will say now is the time for the Trump campaign, if they have their information that they need to present in court, now is the time that they need to be taking that evidence... (Read more)
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