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Rep. Andrew Garbarino

Photo by Andrew Garbarino/ Twitter

Just 17 of the 44 newly sworn-in Republican members of Congress signed a letter on Wednesday congratulating President-elect Joe Biden and pledging to work with him to find common ground. But even most of these lawmakers who now urge unity voted to overturn his victory just two weeks ago.

In their letter, the "freshmen class" Republicans wrote that they "are hopeful that — despite our ideological differences — we may work together on behalf of the American people we are each so fortunate to serve." They cited COVID-19 relief, pre-existing conditions, infrastructure, antitrust enforcement, and the economy as potential areas for collaboration.

"I firmly believe that what unites us as Americans is far greater than anything that may divide us," tweeted Rep. Andrew Garbarino (R-NY) as he shared the letter. "Proud to join my colleagues in a pledge to rise above the partisan fray to deliver meaningful change for Long Islanders."

The signers comprise less than half of the new House Republican members, meaning most GOP freshmen did not opt to participate in the letter.

Even among those who did, many have done little to unite the nation in recent weeks.

Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC), who signed on, made national news after winning in November for tweeting, "Cry more, libs." He questioned whether now Sen.-elect Raphael Warnock (D-GA) could "represent what real Americans believe," baselessly suggesting that the Black Georgia-born pastor was an imposter. In December, he urged Donald Trump supporters to "lightly threaten" their representatives to overturn the election. Hours before violent Trump supporters stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, Cawthorn took part in their "Stop the Steal" rally.

Cawthorn and 10 other signers of the letter voted later that night to reject Biden's electors, throwing out the results of the 2020 elections. The others were Reps. Stephanie Bice (OK), Jerry Carl (AL), Scott Franklin (FL), Carlos Gimenez (FL), Yvette Herrell (NM), Nicole Malliotakis (NY), Barry Moore (AL), Jay Obernolte (CA), Burgess Owens (UT), and Beth Van Duyne (TX).

Some of the 27 other new House Republicans instead used Inauguration Day to reiterate their continued fealty to Trump and his rejected agenda.

"It does not matter if we are in the minority. It does not matter if Dems have control. All that matters is that every Republican fight for America First at all cost!" tweeted Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene on Wednesday morning. "Lay it all out there and give the people reasons to believe that America is not lost. Be fearless."

"President Trump inspired a new generation of patriots to get involved in saving this great nation. It's now on us to carry the movement forward," agreed Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO). "This is bigger than one man. The America First movement is only beginning. United we stand."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

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