Republican rebuke: How 18 GOP senators dealt another blow to Trump this week

John Thune
Senate Minority Whip John Thune, R-S.D., speaks to reporters just off the Senate floor as a bipartisan group of lawmakers negotiate a plan to pay for an estimated $1 trillion compromise plan, at the Capitol in Washington. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

Republican rebuke: How 18 GOP senators dealt another blow to Trump this week

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Eighteen Senate Republicans voted in support of the Electoral Count Act in the omnibus spending bill that passed the upper chamber on Thursday, rebuking former President Donald Trump‘s actions back in 2021.

After Trump pressured then-Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the presidential election during the events of Jan. 6, 2021, several senators ignored the former president’s claims that the 1887 Electoral Count Act protected the election from “fraud.”

Trump attempted to exploit the 1887 law, stating that Pence could halt the certification of Biden’s win in the 2020 election.

“The Electoral Count Act, that statute needed to be fixed and clarified,” Senate GOP Whip John Thune (R-SD) said in an interview with the Hill. “A couple years ago, there were a lot of questions raised about it. There wasn’t any question in my mind about what it said, but since there are [questions], I think it’s important to nail that down.”

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Thune added that he wishes Trump would stop trying to contest the results of the last presidential election, something that has driven down his favorability and pushed independent and moderate Republican voters toward the Democrats during the 2022 midterm elections.

“We’re one election past 2020, and he still seems to be obsessed with that election,” Thune said. “Obviously, I don’t think that’s good for him. It’s certainly not good for anybody else, which is why most of us have decided to move on.”

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) said he believes Trump’s argument of keeping the law the same would theoretically allow Democrats to block a Republican from becoming president.

“Let’s do something which [Trump’s] not fond of doing, which is taking that to the next logical conclusion,” Romney said. “On that basis, that means that Kamala Harris would be able to choose the next president. Does he really think that’s the right way to go?”

With the new Electoral Count Act in place, it will state explicitly that the vice president solely has a ministerial role in presiding over the certification process.

The legislation also raises the threshold to raise an objection to a state of electors to one-fifth in both the House and Senate, as well as providing for expedited judicial review over challenges made to electors.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) celebrated raising the threshold and the act’s passage from the Senate.

“The idea that one senator or one House member can create a process and some confusion when it comes to counting the electoral votes doesn’t make much sense. Raising that threshold so that it just can’t be one-off in each makes sense to me, and it’s long overdue,” he said.

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He added that there was never any “real doubt” that Pence would not have the authority to overturn 2020’s election results.

“We all knew that, and we still know that, but I think this maybe restores a little bit of confidence and stability to the process and eliminate some of the uncertainty we saw on Jan. 6,” the senator from Texas said.

© 2022 Washington Examiner

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