Republican Sens. Mitt Romney and Pat Toomey on Saturday blasted their Senate Republican colleagues who plan to vote against certifying the Electoral College results, and therefore Joe Biden's presidential victory, during a joint-session of Congress on Jan. 6.
What's the background?
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) announced Saturday that he and 10 other Senate Republicans would not support the Electoral College certification unless Congress established a commission to conduct an emergency audit of the election.
"Voter fraud has posed a persistent challenge in our elections, although its breadth and scope are disputed. By any measure, the allegations of fraud and irregularities in the 2020 election exceed any in our lifetimes," the Republicans said in a joint statement.
Cruz's announcement came after Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) became the first Senate Republican to declare that he would oppose the Electoral College certification. Hawley, however, did not cite election fraud, but claimed that Pennsylvania and other states did not follow their election laws in the 2020 presidential election.
What did Romney say?
The Utah Republican called Cruz's argument for an election commission established by Congress "nonsense" because Congress, by its very nature, is a partisan body.
"Were Congress to actually reject state electors, partisans would inevitably demand the same any time their candidate had lost. Congress, not voters in the respective states, would choose our presidents," Romney said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Romney declared that the action of his fellow Republicans to object to Biden's win "dangerously threatens" the American republic.
The egregious ploy to reject electors may enhance the political ambition of some, but dangerously threatens our Democratic Republic. The congressional power to reject electors is reserved for the most extreme and unusual circumstances. These are far from it. More Americans participated in this election than ever before, and they made their choice. President Trump's lawyers made their case before scores of courts; in every instance, they failed. The Justice Department found no evidence of irregularity sufficient to overturn the election. The Presidential Voter Fraud Commission disbanded without finding such evidence.
What did Toomey say?
The Pennsylvania Republican denounced the decision of Cruz, Hawley, and other Republicans, saying their effort "undermines" the American electoral process.
"A fundamental, defining feature of a democratic republic is the right of the people to elect their own leaders. The effort by Senators Hawley, Cruz, and others to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in swing states like Pennsylvania directly undermines this right," Toomey said in a statement.
Addressing allegations of election fraud, Toomey explained such claims have been made in court — and they've failed spectacularly.
"The senators justify their intent by observing that there have been many allegations of fraud. But allegations of fraud by a losing campaign cannot justify overturning an election. They fail to acknowledge that these allegations have been adjudicated in courtrooms across America and were found to be unsupported by evidence," Toomey said.
He continued, "President Trump's own Attorney General, Bill Barr, stated 'we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.'"
However, Toomey acknowledged that "irregularities" were likely present in the election. Still, he said the "evidence is overwhelming" that Joe Biden won the election.
"I voted for President Trump and endorsed him for re-election. But, on Wednesday, I intend to vigorously defend our form of government by opposing this effort to disenfranchise millions of voters in my state and others," Toomey said.