Sens. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), Steve Daines (R-MT), and James Lankford (R-OK) are among the Republicans no longer objecting to the results of the presidential election following a day of violence and destruction by President Donald Trump’s supporters at the Capitol — but not everyone has changed their minds.
In a vote Wednesday evening, six Republican senators and 121 House Republicans still backed objections to certifying the electoral outcome in Arizona, a surprising result in the wake of the violence that occurred earlier in the day.
Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), John Kennedy (R-LA), Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), and Roger Marshall (R-KS), maintained their objections — even though they’re unfounded, won’t be going anywhere, and further amplify lies about a rigged election. (The objection did not obtain a majority of votes in either chamber, and failed.)
“This is the appropriate place for these concerns to be raised,” Hawley said in a floor speech, highlighting questions he still had about Pennsylvania election laws.
Their decisions to uphold these objections suggests that some are still shockingly comfortable undermining the democratic process even after pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol to contest the validity of the election results.
It’s an attack that Republican lawmakers’ actions helped stoke, given their willingness to support Trump’s repeated, unproven claims about a fraudulent election.
Originally, about 14 Senate Republicans and roughly 140 House Republicans had planned to vote in favor of the objections, meaning some lawmakers did change their votes after the attack on the Capitol on Wednesday.
Those who did so have said they want to emphasize the legitimacy of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory and to repudiate the violence that was perpetrated.
“I cannot now in good conscience object to the certification of these electors,” Loeffler said in a floor speech. “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.”
BREAKING: Sen. Kelly Loeffler: “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.” pic.twitter.com/IBxqsasylN
— ABC News (@ABC) January 7, 2021
But these shifts came late: While they do send a message about the election outcome, they don’t obscure the role that many of these lawmakers also played in fueling the same doubts that led to rioters’ assault on the Capitol.
For months, Trump — and many of his Republican allies — have questioned the election results and in doing so, they contributed to immense distrust of the outcome among both his core supporters and Republicans overall. (According to a November Vox/Data for Progress poll, 73 percent of Republicans questioned Biden’s win.)
Congress members’ plans to object to certain states’ election results only amplified this message. And those who wouldn’t change that position, in particular, seemed to completely ignore the stakes of their actions.