WASHINGTON (AP) — The extraordinary Republican effort to overturn the presidential election was condemned Sunday by an outpouring of current and former GOP officials warning the effort to sow doubt in Joe Biden’s win and keep President Trump in office is undermining Americans’ faith in democracy.
Trump has enlisted support from a dozen Republican senators and up to 100 House Republicans to challenge the Electoral College vote when Congress convenes in a joint session to confirm President-elect Joe Biden’s 306-232 win.
“The 2020 election is over,” said a statement Sunday from a bipartisan group of 10 senators, including Republicans Susan Collins, of Maine; Lisa Murkowski, of Alaska; Bill Cassidy, of Louisiana; and Mitt Romney, of Utah. The senators wrote that further attempts to cast doubt on the election are “contrary to the clearly expressed will of the American people and only serve to undermine Americans’ confidence in the already determined election results.”
Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, of Maryland, said, “The scheme by members of Congress to reject the certification of the presidential election makes a mockery of our system and who we are as Americans.”
Former House Speaker Paul Ryan, a Republican, said in a statement that “Biden’s victory is entirely legitimate” and that efforts to sow doubt about the election “strike at the foundation of our republic.”
Rep. Liz Cheney, of Wyoming, the third-ranking House Republican, warned in a memo to colleagues that objections to the Electoral College results “set an exceptionally dangerous precedent.”
The unusual challenge to the presidential election, on a scale unseen since the aftermath of the Civil War, clouded the opening of the new Congress and is set to consume its first days. The House and Senate will meet Wednesday in a joint session to accept the Electoral College vote, a typically routine process that’s now expected to be a prolonged fight.
The effort in the Senate was being led by Sens. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., and Ted Cruz, R-Texas. Hawley defended his actions in a lengthy email to colleagues, explaining that his Missouri constituents have been “loud and clear” with their belief that Biden’s defeat of Trump was unfair.
“It is my responsibility as a senator to raise their concerns,” Hawley wrote late Saturday.
Hawley plans to object to the state tally from Pennsylvania.
Cruz’s coalition of 11 Republican senators vows to reject the Electoral College tallies unless Congress launches a commission to immediately 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 their demand.
The group formed with Cruz, which presented no new evidence of election problems, includes Sens. Ron Johnson, of Wisconsin; James Lankford, of Oklahoma; Steve Daines, of Montana; John Kennedy, of Louisiana; Marsha Blackburn, of Tennessee; and Mike Braun, of Indiana. New senators in the group are Cynthia Lummis, of Wyoming; Roger Marshall, of Kansas; Bill Hagerty, of Tennessee; and Tommy Tuberville, of Alabama.