Sen. Josh Hawley said Wednesday he will object when Congress counts the Electoral College votes next week, becoming the first senator to do so and likely forcing lawmakers in both the House and Senate to vote on whether to accept President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in last month’s election.
The Missouri Republican, one of a handful of allies of President Trump on Capitol Hill backing his claim of election fraud, pointed out that Democrats challenged the integrity of the 2004 and 2016 elections and that Trump’s supporters “are entitled to do the same.”
“I cannot vote to certify the Electoral College results on January 6 without raising the fact that some states, particularly Pennsylvania, failed to follow their own state election laws,” Hawley said in a statement announcing his decision. “And I cannot vote to certify without pointing out the unprecedented effort of mega-corporations, including Facebook and Twitter, to interfere in this election, in support of Joe Biden. At the very least, Congress should investigate allegations of voter fraud and adopt measures to secure the integrity of our elections. But Congress has so far failed to act.”
Despite Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s pleadings with his Republican colleagues to move on and accept Biden as the winner of the 2020 election, Trump’s allies continue to push to overturn his loss.
In addition to Hawley’s objection, Sen.-elect Tommy Tuberville of Alabama has hinted he may do the same.
Such objections will almost certainly not change the outcome of the election, however, only delaying the inevitable affirmation of Biden’s victory.
Both chambers of Congress would have to uphold the objection, and the majority-Democrat House will undoubtedly reject such a measure.
Additionally, multiple Republican senators have argued against an objection that will provide a platform for Trump’s baseless conspiracy theories claiming the election was stolen from him.
McConnell has privately urged Senate Republicans not to join the group of House members who are planning to object. Senate Majority Whip John Thune argued against it publicly, prompting a rebuke from Trump on Twitter and the threat of a primary challenge.