At least four Republican Senators are dropping their plans to object to President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory after the US Capitol was stormed by President Trump’s supporters.
Sen. Kelly Loeffler of Georgia, who lost re-election in a runoff race Tuesday against Democrat Raphael Warnock, announced her decision on the Senate floor after legislators returned following the break-in.
Sens. James Lankford (R-Okla.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and Mike Braun (R-Ind.) also backed off plans to object to swing-state electors.
Loeffler explained her stance in an eloquent speech after rattled senators resumed the two-hour debate over Arizona’s electors.
“When I arrived in Washington this morning, I fully intended to object to the certification of the electoral votes. However, the events that have transpired today have forced me to reconsider. And I cannot now in good conscience object to this certification of these electors,” Loeffler said.
“The violence, the lawlessness and siege of the halls of Congress are abhorrent and stand as a direct attack on the very institution my objection was intended to protect: the sanctity of the American democratic process.”
Loeffler said, “I believe that there were last-minute changes to the November 2020 election process and serious irregularities that resulted in too many Americans losing confidence not only in the integrity of our elections, but in the power of the ballot as a tool.”
“Nevertheless, there is no excuse for the events that took place in these chambers today. And I pray that America never suffers such a dark day again.”
In a joint statement, Lankford and Daines called the raid an “assault on democracy” and said, “We now need the entire Congress to come together and vote to certify the election results. We must stand together as Americans. We must defend our Constitution and the rule of law.”
Lankford said in a Senate floor speech, “We are headed towards tonight to the certification of Joe Biden to the president of the United States and we will work together in this body to be able to set a peaceful example in the days ahead.”
Braun told a reporter on Capitol Hill, “I think that today did change things drastically. Yeah, whatever point you made before that should suffice. Get this ugly day behind us.”
With the raft of Republican defections, an already small band of pro-Trump senators vowing to object grew smaller, potentially allowing legislators to avoid grueling two-hour debates on additional state electors.
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) had been expected to object to Pennsylvania electors, triggering two hours of debate, while Loeffler had been expected to object to Georgia’s electors before changing her mind.
Hawley wound up folding his Pennsylvania comments into his five minutes for debate on Arizona and said he would not press further.
In order to force a debate on a state’s electors, Trump supporters in the House must be joined by a senator.
Republicans who had backed objections before the chaos included Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.) and Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.)
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) had forced the debate over Arizona’s electors, pointing to a court-ordered change to a voter registration deadline.
Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), who had not supported objections, told reporters Wednesday evening that there was peer-pressure among Republicans to get the night over with. “We are trying to expedite matters, let everyone have a say, but expedite,” he said.
Sens. Loeffler, Lankford drop election objections after Capitol chaos The British Journal Editors and Wire Services/ New York Post.