Republican Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas) responded Sunday to criticism over his plan to oppose the certification of Joe Biden's Electoral College victory, which is scheduled to happen during a joint-session of Congress on Jan. 6.
What's the background?
Cruz revealed the plan on Saturday, and he is being joined by 10 other Republican senators. In a joint statement, the Republican senators explained they would object to the certification unless Congress established a commission to conduct an audit of the 2020 presidential contest.
The senators cited concerns of election fraud.
"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.
Their effort is separate of that being undertaken by Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), who became the first Republican senator to declare his opposition to the Electoral College vote certification. Hawley, however, is objecting on grounds that Pennsylvania and other states did not follow their election laws in the 2020 election.
What did Cruz say?
Speaking on Fox News' "Sunday Morning Futures," the Texas Republican urged critics to "tone down the rhetoric," especially those launching stiff accusations that opposing certification is treasonous.
"Everyone needs to calm down. I think we need to tone down the rhetoric. This is already a volatile situation," Cruz said.
"Yesterday, when I released my statement with 10 other senators, I had multiple, multiple Democrats urging that I should be arrested and tried for the crimes of sedition and treason. That's not helpful," he added. "We have a responsibility to follow the law."
Earlier in the interview, Cruz explained why he is calling for an "Electoral Commission" to audit the election. Cruz cited allegations of election fraud, but more importantly, public polling data that shows a significant number of Americans believe the 2020 presidential contest was "rigged."
Outright dismissing those concerns about election integrity erodes confidence in the American electoral process, Cruz explained.
"We ought to resolve these claims not just dismiss them out of hand," the Republican explained.
According to Cruz, the plan he released on Saturday is a third option to answer election concerns.
"Look, we've got to vote on January 6 on certification and every member of Congress faces a dilemma. Frankly, two pretty lousy choices: one, we can vote to certify by not considering any objection. If we do that that will be heard by a lot of Americans as saying, 'We don't think voter fraud is a real concern. We don't think these claims should be investigated thoroughly,'" Cruz said.
"I know that's not what most of us believe. But, secondly, and I think all of us, rightly, don't want to be in a position where we're suggesting setting aside the results of an election just because the candidate that we supported didn't happen to prevail. That's not a principled constitutional position," he continued. "That's why, in assembling this group of 11 senators, I was looking for a third option, an option that was really moored in the law."
Cruz on Fox News: We Have an Obligation To the Voters To Ensure This Election Was Lawful www.youtube.com