GOP lawmakers look to overturn Biden's election
A growing number of US Republican lawmakers are joining President Donald Trump’s extraordinary effort to overturn the election, pledging to reject the results when Congress meets this week to count the Electoral College votes and certify President-elect Joe Biden’s win.
Senator Ted Cruz of Texas on Saturday announced a coalition of 11 senators and senators-elect who have been enlisted for Trump’s effort to subvert the will of American voters.
This follows the declaration from Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri, who was the first to buck Senate leadership by saying he would join with House Republicans in objecting to the state tallies during Wednesday’s joint session of Congress.
Trump’s refusal to accept his defeat is tearing the party apart as Republicans are forced to make consequential choices that will set the contours of the post-Trump era.
Hawley and Cruz are both among potential 2024 presidential contenders.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had urged his party not to try to overturn what nonpartisan election officials have said was a free and fair vote.
The 11 senators largely acknowledged on Saturday they will not succeed in preventing Biden from being inaugurated on January 20 after he won the Electoral College 306-232.
But their challenges, and those from House Republicans, represent the most sweeping effort to undo a presidential election outcome since the Civil War.
“We do not take this action lightly,” Cruz and the other senators said in a joint statement.
They vowed to vote against certain state electors on Wednesday unless Congress appoints an electoral commission to conduct an audit of the election results. They are zeroing in on the states where Trump has raised unfounded claims of voter fraud. Congress is unlikely to agree to the demand.
Biden’s transition spokesman, Mike Gwin, dismissed the effort as a “stunt” that won’t change the fact that Biden will be sworn in on January 20.
Trump, the first president to lose a reelection bid in almost 30 years, has attributed his defeat to widespread voter fraud, despite the consensus of nonpartisan election officials and even Trump’s attorney general that there was none.
Of the roughly 50 lawsuits the president and his allies have filed challenging election results, nearly all have been dismissed or dropped.
Trump has also lost twice at the US Supreme Court.
Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, the top Democrat on the panel overseeing the Electoral College count, said the GOP effort to create a federal commission “to supersede state certifications” is wrong.
The convening of the joint session to count the Electoral College votes is usually routine. While objections have surfaced before — in 2017, several House Democrats challenged Trump’s win — few have approached this level of intensity.
On the other side of the Republican divide, several senators spoke out Saturday against Cruz and Hawley’s effort.
Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska said in a statement that she will vote to affirm the election and urged colleagues in both parties to join her in “maintaining confidence” in elections “so that we ensure we have the continued trust of the American people.”
Several Republicans have indicated they are under pressure from constituents back home to show they are fighting for Trump in his baseless campaign to stay in office.