Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) released a scathing statement following Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and several other GOP senators announcing their intent to reject the electors from disputed states “unless and until” a 10-day audit is completed, categorizing the move as an “egregious ploy” that “dangerously threatens our Democratic 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,” Romney said in a Saturday statement following the release of a joint-statement from Sens. Cruz, Ron Johnson (R-WI), James Lankford (R-OK), Steve Daines (R-MT), John Kennedy (R-LA), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Mike Braun (R-IN), and Sens.-Elect Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), and Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) — all of whom demanded an emergency 10-day audit of the election returns in disputed states.
Americans, Romney concluded, “made their choice,” while Trump’s legal challenges ultimately “failed.”
“The Justice Department found no evidence of irregularity sufficient to overturn the election. The Presidential Voter Fraud Commission disbanded without finding such evidence,” the Utah Republican continued, dismissing Cruz’s argument — that an audit would restore trust with the American people — as “nonsense.”
“This argument ignores the widely perceived reality that Congress is an overwhelmingly partisan body; the American people wisely place greater trust in the federal courts where judges serve for life,” Romney said.
“Members of Congress who would substitute their own partisan judgement for that of the courts do not enhance public trust, they imperil it,” he continued:
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.
Adding to this ill-conceived endeavor by some in Congress is the President’s call for his supporters to come to the Capitol on the day when this matter is to be debated and decided. This has the predictable potential to lead to disruption, and worse.
I could never have imagined seeing these things in the greatest democracy in the world. Has ambition so eclipsed principle?
Cruz and the GOP lawmakers stressed in their statement that there is a “long precedent of Democratic Members of Congress raising objections to presidential election results.”
They wrote in part:
The most direct precedent on this question arose in 1877, following serious allegations of fraud and illegal conduct in the Hayes-Tilden presidential race. Specifically, the elections in three states—Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina—were alleged to have been conducted illegally.
In 1877, Congress did not ignore those allegations, nor did the media simply dismiss those raising them as radicals trying to undermine democracy. Instead, Congress appointed an Electoral Commission—consisting of five Senators, five House Members, and five Supreme Court Justices—to consider and resolve the disputed returns.
We should follow that precedent. To wit, Congress should immediately appoint an Electoral Commission, with full investigatory and fact-finding authority, to conduct an emergency 10-day audit of the election returns in the disputed states. Once completed, individual states would evaluate the Commission’s findings and could convene a special legislative session to certify a change in their vote, if needed.
Over 100 House members, in addition to the dozen senators — including Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) — are also expected to reject to Electoral College votes on Wednesday, triggering debates. Vice President Mike Pence “welcomes the efforts of members of the House and Senate to use the authority they have under the law to raise objections and bring forward evidence before the Congress and the American people on January 6th,” according to Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short.
Romney had a similar reaction following Hawley announcing his intent to reject to Electoral College votes on January 6, contending an objection would further spread the “false rumor that somehow the election was stolen.”