According to a series of interviews and statements, at least 21 GOP senators will vote to confirm Biden’s election victory. By Tuesday noon, 17 Republican senators hadn’t said what they would do publicly. Since any Senate Democrat will also be certain to reject the challenge of Biden’s victory, President Donald Trump’s print campaign will easily fail, even if the GOP can be split.
Senator Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) Said on MSNBC Tuesday that getting Biden to win in key swing states was a “brutal” episode as a majority of his constituents asked him to oppose certification.
“It was not an easy emotional decision,” Cramer said, arguing that he would never want to see a situation where senators from other states tried to disenfranchise North Dakotans. With that in mind, he added, “I’m pretty comfortable with it.”
Even so, not everyone shows their cards. A number of senior Republican senators, from Chuck Grassley of Iowa to Marco Rubio of Florida to Todd Young of Indiana, have declined to comment on their intentions before Wednesday. This day is likely to be filled with internal clashes as the objectors fight on the ground with members of their own party who refuse to obstruct Biden’s formal path to presidency.
Hawley has announced that he will challenge votes in Pennsylvania while the group of Senators led by Cruz is undecided how many states to challenge and how many votes to force their peers into. Cruz will at least challenge Arizona with the aim of forming a commission to complete a 10-day election review, according to a source familiar with the matter. However, the likelihood of setting up such a commission is extremely unlikely.
Senator Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) Is likely to challenge Georgia. And Senator Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) Will object to all three states, according to a source familiar with his thinking.
Any state that objects by a member of the House of Representatives and a Senator requires a two hour debate followed by a vote on the challenge. That means there will be at least three long debates – and votes – going on in the Senate and House of Representatives.
Trump card praised the group of objectors tweeted on Tuesday: “They will fight against the ridiculous electoral college certification of Biden. How do you certify numbers that have now been shown to be false and, in many cases, fraudulent? As for those on the other hand, Trump calls them the “surrender caucus”.
Hawley again denied trying to overthrow the election Monday night, telling Fox News he was merely exercising his right to force a debate.
“Under the 12th Amendment, Congress is instructed to count the votes,” Hawley said. “There is a right to object, there is a right to be heard.”
But the challenge is to bitterly split the caucus. Some Senate Republicans who might eventually seek presidency have also condemned efforts to block Biden’s certification of victory.
“Congress would take away the power to elect the president from among the people and place him in the hands of the party that controls Congress.” wrote Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) In a comment on Tuesday. “This action would essentially end our tradition of democratic presidential elections and empower politicians and party bosses in Washington.”
While Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell warned his conference that Wednesday’s maneuver would be a “terrible” vote, he is not actively lashing it. He will oppose the efforts personally, but encourages members to follow their consciences.
Wednesday’s vote will mark the most significant rejection of Trump by the Senate Republicans, who continues to make false claims of widespread electoral fraud in the elections he lost. While the president attacked Republicans this week who opposed his efforts, some of his strongest supporters argue that breaking with the president this time around should not erase their ardent support over the past four years.
“I support President Trump and have worked with the President to advance policies that are important to North Dakota and our nation,” said Senator John Hoeven (R-N.D.). But “the people of North Dakota don’t want Congress to set their vote, and we shouldn’t be setting a precedent by doing this for other states.”