While the 117th Congress began its first working day, every member of the Republican caucus in both houses confronted a moral quandary: Promote Trump and my own ambitions, or defend the Constitution I swore to protect.
The day began with former House Speaker Paul Ryan blasting the efforts of some of his fellow Republicans to overturn a free and fair election.
In a blistering statement, Ryan:
"Efforts to reject the votes of the Electoral College and sow doubt about Joe Biden's victory strike at the foundation of our republic. It is difficult to conceive of a more anti-democratic and anti-conservative act than a federal intervention to overturn the results of state-certified elections and disenfranchise millions of Americans. The Trump campaign had ample opportunity to challenge election results, and those efforts failed from lack of evidence. The legal process was exhausted, and the results were decisively confirmed. The Department of Justice, too, found no basis for overturning the result. If states wish to reform their processes for future elections, that is their prerogative. But Joe Biden's victory is entirely legitimate."Ryan, who served as Speaker during the first two years of Trump's term, has largely avoided commenting on the news since leaving office, though he did urge soon to be ex-President Trump to accept the results of the election in March, according to The Hill. That was only be the start of a long day that revealed a deepening GOP divide.
Rep. Thomas Massie, a Kentucky Republican, released a joint statement revealing his concern over some of his colleagues planning to overturn the election on January 6 in a vote that is supposed to be ceremonial.
"We, like most Americans, are outraged at the significant abuses in our election system resulting from the reckless adoption of mail-in ballots and the lack of safeguards maintained to guarantee that only legitimate votes are cast and counted," read Massie's statement, released jointly with several colleges including two who signed the amicus brief asking the Supreme Court to throw out votes in states Trump lost.
"But only states have authority to appoint electors," the letter continued. "Our job on January 6 is to determine whether these are the electors the states sent us, not whether these are the electors the states should have sent us," wrote Massie and his colleagues.
“Our job on January 6th is to determine whether these are the electors the states sent us, not whether these are th… https://t.co/i7ENCaSZdG— Thomas Massie (@Thomas Massie)1609702477.0
Rep. Chip Roy, a Republican from Texas, signed Massie's statement but took his displeasure at the effort to overturn the election a step further -- by releasing his own statement shredding the hypocrisy of many swing-state colleagues. He made a symbolic but strong statement opposing their seating in the new Congress.
"After all, those representatives [who oppose confirming the electoral vote] were elected through the very same systems -- with the same ballot procedures, with the same signature validations, with the same broadly applied decisions of executive and judicial branch officials-- as were the electors chosen for the President of the United States under the laws of those states, which have become the subject of national controversy," Roy's letter read.
Today, I objected to the seating of my colleagues from six states: AZ, GA, MI, NV, PA, and WI. It would confound r… https://t.co/wJlFxyhwh7— Rep. Chip Roy (@Rep. Chip Roy)1609716168.0