Missouri Republican Senator Josh Hawley stated on Wednesday that he plans to object when Congress counts the Electoral College votes next week, forcing lawmakers in both the House and Senate to vote on the confirmation of Joe Biden as the next President of the United States.
Hawley is the first senator to announce his plan to object to the presidential election results, which is a significant development because a sitting member of the house and a senator are required to mount an objection when the Electoral College votes are counted on January 6.
Hawley’s objection has put in motion a call for other Republican senators to join in objection to the confirmation of Joe Biden but puts some Republicans in a difficult position due to their desire to move forward to put Joe Biden in the Oval Office against the mounting calls from the Republican base to support President Donald Trump.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch 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.
Trump has been pushing for Congress to try to overturn the election result as his campaign's attempts to overturn the election through the courts have been repeatedly rejected.
McConnell has made clear to his conference that objecting is a fruitless endeavor that will not only prolong the process, but would force many Republicans to vote against Trump once that process is complete. McConnell's top deputies have shared similar views with members of the Senate GOP, aides say.
But that hasn't kept several Republican senators from keeping the option open. It's a spot that places them in between McConnell, who will continue to serve as the party's Senate leader and highest-ranking Republican in the country, and Trump, who will soon be out of office but whose power within the party, particularly with its base, remains unquestioned.
“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. “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.”
Citing previous Democratic objections during the counting of Electoral College votes in 2004 and 2016, Hawley stated that Democrats were “entitled to do so,” that “now those of us concerned about the integrity of this election are entitled to do the same.”
Democrat Senator Amy Klobuchar took to social media to condemn Hawley, referring to the President’s objections to the election results as a “coup”, saying:
“This is how you run for President on the Republican side in 2024. You join a coup attempt. Democracy will prevail. As lead Dem on Rules Com. I will guarantee it. There’s a bipartisan group of electeds who will put our country first. See you on the 6th!”
According to Congressional rules, if an objection is raised by a member in both the House and the Senate, the two chambers must debate the matter for two hours before voting on whether to sustain the objection or uphold it.