President Trump has not “conceded” the 2020 election, but in the early morning hours after Congress certified the electoral vote he issued a statement promising an “orderly transition” of power on Inauguration Day.
“Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th. I have always said we would continue our fight to ensure that only legal votes were counted,” Trump said through Dan Scanvino, the White House deputy chief of staff for communications.
“While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it’s only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again!”
Debate over the first of possibly six contested slates of electors was underway when a pro-Trump rally turned into chaos at the Capitol building, forcing lawmakers into hiding. By the time the joint session resumed, many senators had reversed their decision to sign off on objections by House members, which requires the two chambers to separate and debate for two hours.
Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., objected to Georgia’s electoral votes, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., to Michigan’s and Rep. Mo Brooke, R-Ala., to Nevada’s. But no senator joined them.
Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., explained that she withdrew her objection to the electors in her state because of the violence at the Capitol.
“When I arrived in Washington this morning, I fully intended to object to the certification of the electoral votes,” she told her colleagues. “However, the events that have transpired today have forced me to reconsider and I cannot now, in good conscience, object.”
Seven of the 13 senators who said they would object voted to reject Pennsylvania’s electoral votes: Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Sens. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., Cynthia Lummis, R-Wy., Roger Marshall, R-Kan., Rick Scott, R-Fla., and Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala.
Lummis, in a statement early Thursday, said the chaos at the Capitol “overshadowed” the issue.
“I have serious concerns about election integrity, especially in Pennsylvania, and expressed some of them in a written statement to the Senate. But today’s sickening, un-American attack on the U.S. Capitol overshadowed that debate,” Lummis said. “Congress cannot fix problems with election integrity, only states can fix these problems. But Congress can investigate those problems and raise awareness.”
Trump has been widely accused of inciting his supporters on Wednesday through his rhetoric and his persistent challenge of the 2020 vote, which his critics charge is “baseless.”
During debate overnight, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., addressed both the incitement charge and the oft-repeated claim of no evidence.
He argued that Trump “explicitly called for demonstrations and protests to be peaceful.”
“He was far more — you can moan and groan — but he was far more explicit about his calls for peace than some of the BLM and left-wing writers were this summer when we saw violence sweep across this nation,” the congressman said.
“Now, we came here today to debate, to follow regular order to offer an objection to follow a process that is expressly contemplated in our Constitution,” he continued. “And for doing that, we got called a bunch of seditious traitors.”
Gaetz pointed out that “not since 1985 has a Republican president been sworn in, absent some Democrat effort to object to the electors.”
“But when we do it, it is the new violation of all norms,” he said. “And when those things are said, people get angry.”
Gaetz said the vote fraud was “systemic.”
“We saw circumstances where when Democrat operatives couldn’t get the outcomes they wanted in state legislators,” he said. “When they couldn’t get the job done there, they went and pressured and litigated and usurped the Constitution with extra-constitutional action of some officials in some states.
“They fraudulently laundered ballots, votes, voter registration forms and then they limited review, ” the lawmaker said.
Gaetz said that after the 2016 election, Democrats “found out that they couldn’t beat Donald Trump at the ballot box with voters who actually show up, so they turned to impeachment and the witness box.”
“And when that failed, they ran to the mailbox, where this election saw an unprecedented amount of votes that could not be authenticated with true ID, with true signature match and with true confidence for the American people,” he said.
The courts, after the 2020 election failed to address the issue, he said, “by not holding evidentiary hearings to weigh the evidence.”
“We should not join in that failure. We should vindicate the rights of states,” he told his colleagues. “We should vindicate the subpoenas in Arizona that have been issued to get a hold of these voting machines. And we should reject these electors.”
See Gaetz’s remarks:
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