Congress validated a win for challenger Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election at about 3:41 a.m. Eastern Time on Jan. 7.
The House and Senate certified the results of the Electoral College on a day when rioters stormed the Capitol in Washington, D.C., and on a day when a senator from Missouri followed through on a pledge to challenge election results.
U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Missouri, gave a five-minute speech late Wednesday night, after the Senate reconvened following hours of delays caused by rioters storming the Capitol building.
“I just want to acknowledge that when it comes to violence, this has been a terrible year in America, this last year. We’ve seen a lot of violence against law enforcement and today we saw it here, in the Capitol of the United States. In this country, in the United States of America, we cannot say emphatically enough, violence is not how you achieve change,” Hawley said.
Republican members of Congress objected to the certification of election results in two states, Arizona and Pennsylvania. In the U.S. Senate, the vote for the objection in Arizona fell 93-6, and the vote for objection in Pennsylvania fell 92-7.
Hawley was in the minority of senators who voted for the objections both times.
“For those who have concerns about the integrity of our elections, those who have concerns about what happened in November, this is the appropriate means. This is the lawful place where those objections and concerns should be heard,” Hawley said.
U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Missouri, supported President Donald Trump and served as co-chair of his Missouri campaign, but in a statement issued just after midnight on Jan. 7, Blunt shot down the challenges to the Electoral College.
“His lawyers presented the evidence they had to more than 90 judges – many of them Republican-appointed, including several nominated by President Trump – in more than 60 different cases. That process ended with each state certifying its election results in accordance with the Constitution and state law,” Blunt said. “There are two reasons Congress can object to any state’s electors: that the vote was not regularly given or that the elector was not lawfully certified according to state law. None of today’s statements contained new information that has not already been presented to, and reviewed by, a state or federal court. My view is that there is not sufficient evidence to sustain the objections.”
Blunt also condemned the violent acts at the Capitol that left four people dead and resulted in 52 arrests, according to the Washington, D.C. Police Department.
“Today’s outrageous attack on the Capitol was a sad day for America. But we will move forward and we will continue living up to the example of democracy we have long set for the world,” Blunt said.
Hawley, who presumably cast a vote for Trump in Christian County in November 2020, objected to the certification of election results from Pennsylvania.
“In Pennsylvania, quite apart from allegations of any fraud, you have a state constitution that has been interpreted for over a century to say that there is no mail-in balloting permitted, except for in very narrow circumstances that’s also provided for in the law,” Hawley said. “Yet, last year, Pennsylvania elected officials passed a whole new law that allows universal mail-in balloting.”
On Nov. 28, 2020, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court rejected a challenge to the 2.5 million mail-in votes that occurred in the 2020 election that Pennsylvania Republicans brought forward in one of more than 25 lawsuits filed in a similar vein across the United States.
Sen. Bob Casey Jr., D-Pennsylvania, rebutted Hawley’s floor speech, and said that Hawley’s assertions were “based on a lie, a falsehood.”
“That same lie sowed the seeds from today’s violence and today’s lawlessness here at the Capitol,” Casey said.
Casey rebuked Hawley’s challenge to Pennsylvania election laws.
“The law was passed by a Republican-controlled general assembly, a house and senate. It was only after the 2020 election, when it became clear that Joe Biden won Pennsylvania by a little more than 80,000 votes did some Republican politicians in our state decide to challenge the constitutionality of the law,” Casey said.
Hawley hinted that election laws need undergo examination, regardless of the outcome of the proceedings Jan. 6-7.
“We need election security reforms. I bet my friends on the other side of the aisle don’t disagree with that. We need to find a way to move forward on that together, so that the American people from both parties, all walks of life, can have confidence in their elections,” Hawley said.