President Donald Trump late Thursday said Americans are supportive of Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and the roughly three dozen House of Representatives members who plan on objecting to electoral votes in the upcoming joint session of Congress.
“America is proud of Josh and the many others who are joining him. The USA cannot have fraudulent elections!” Trump wrote in a tweet.
Hawley this week became the first senator to pledge to object to votes during the Jan. 6 joint session.
“I cannot vote to certify the electoral college results on Jan. 6 without raising the fact that some states, particularly Pennsylvania, failed to follow their own state election laws,” Hawley wrote in a statement. On Fox News, he said “somebody has to stand up” for the Trump voters who believe election fraud occurred.
Hawley’s move attracted backlash from Democrats and some fellow Republicans, including members of the GOP Senate leadership.
Walmart also called the senator a “sore loser.” It later apologized and deleted the social media statement it had issued.
Trump shared an article about Hawley responding to Walmart. Hawley asked the company to apologize for using slave labor and ” the pathetic wages you pay your workers as you drive mom and pop stores out of business.”
Attempts to reach Walmart were not successful.
Hawley and members of the lower congressional chamber’s plan centers around how the U.S. Constitution enables objections during the joint session held to count Electoral College votes.
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) speaks to reporters in Washington on Oct. 22, 2020. (Samuel Corum/Getty Images)
Objections must be written and have the support of at least one senator and one representative. If an objection meets the requirements, it triggers a withdrawal from the joint session. In each chamber, there is then a two-hour debate and a vote on whether to uphold a challenge. Unless objections receive a majority vote in each chamber, they’re discarded.
Democrats objected to electoral votes in 2017 and 2005. They failed to garner support from any senators in 2017, making the challenges null.
In 2005, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) joined the objection. She and Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (R-Ohio) objected to Ohio’s electoral votes. The lawmakers at the time said the objection was meant to raise awareness for the need for election reform, pointing to a report from Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee that found irregularities.
“I hate inconveniencing my friends, but I think it’s worth a couple of hours to shine some light on these issues,” Boxer said after the chambers withdrew. “Our people are dying all over the world, a lot from my state, for what reason? To bring democracy to the far corners of the world. Let’s fix it here, and let’s do it first thing.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and most other Democrats, along with Republicans, voted to reject the objection.
Hawley said on Fox that his aim is similar.
Besides making the point that some states didn’t follow their own election laws, “we had unprecedented interference from the biggest, most powerful corporations in the history of the world, the big tech corporations, all in favor of Joe Biden’s censorship like we have never seen before,” he said, adding: “We have had no congressional investigation of the fraud; we need it. And we’ve had no congressional action. We need that to protect our election going forward.”
“I’m going to make all of these points. I’m going to try to force a debate about all of these points,” he said.
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), left, and Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-Ohio) walk to a press conference to announce their objection to the certification of Ohio electoral votes, in Washington on Jan. 6, 2005. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) was among those skeptical of the objection.
“If dead people were voting, I want the names,” Graham said during an appearance on Fox. “If you’re going to retry the case in the Senate that’s already been tried in the federal courts it would be hard for me to basically take over the federal courts’ role. But I will listen and we’ll see how it comes out.”
Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) noted there is a constitutional basis for objections but argued there is no “real basis” for it in this case.
“For President-Elect Biden’s 306-232 Electoral College victory to be overturned, President Trump would need to flip multiple states. But not a single state is in legal doubt,” Sasse said in a statement.
Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden has claimed victory in the election, while Trump and others continue contesting election results.
GOP lawmakers filed a lawsuit this week, asserting Vice President Mike Pence has the “exclusive authority” to decide between competing slates of electors. Pence on Thursday asked the judge to reject the suit.