President Donald Trump ridiculed those who would stand in the way of his effort to overturn the election results as part of a ‘surrender caucus’ – in his latest dash of public pressure seeking to sway the electoral count.
The president fired off a series of tweets seeking to sway Congress, which meets on Wednesday, despite the leak of an explosive hour-long phone call where he sought to pressure the Georgia secretary of state to ‘find’ 11,780 votes that would ensure his victory in the state.
The official, Brad Raffensperger, said Monday he has ‘been fighting a rumor whack-a-mole,’ after repeatedly resisting Trump’s pressure-tactics during the call.
President Trump singled out Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton, who said he won’t go along with election challenges, in a tweet and warned Republicans ‘NEVER FORGET’
The action will soon move to Congress, which meets in joint session on Wednesday to count the results of the Electoral College, where Democrat Joe Biden won 306 to 232.
Trump’s push to overturn Biden’s victory has brought a schism in the GOP, with 11 Republican senators joining Missouri Republican Sen. Josh Hawley in saying they will challenge results.
That brought forceful blowback from both Trump critics and even some typical Trump allies within the GOP, notably Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton.
‘The ‘Surrender Caucus’ within the Republican Party will go down in infamy as weak and ineffective ‘guardians’ of our Nation, who were willing to accept the certification of fraudulent presidential numbers!’ Trump wrote.
Twitter flagged Trump’s claim about election fraud as ‘disputed.’ It has yet to stand up in court. His claims that he won Georgia by ‘half a million votes’ was not born out by successive state recounts.
Trump followed up with an implied threat against those who might cross him – specifically mentioning Cotton.
‘How can you certify an election when the numbers being certified are verifiably WRONG,’ he wrote. ‘You will see the real numbers tonight during my speech, but especially on JANUARY 6th. @SenTomCotton Republicans have pluses & minuses, but one thing is sure, THEY NEVER FORGET!’
Congress meets on the sixth. Trump flies Monday night to Georgia, where he promised to repeat his claims of election fraud – which Raffensperger tweeted in response to Trump Sunday were ‘not true.’
Trump tried to label those who won’t seek to overturn the election as the ‘Surrender Caucus’
Trump touted his Monday night speech and gave a warning to those who would appose his last-ditch effort
Trump tweeted approvingly about Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas)
Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) has forcefully condemned Trump’s effort to overturn the results
Former Defense Secretary Gen. James Mattis was among ten former Pentagon chiefs warning against the use of military force following talk by Trump allies of martial law
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) said the GOP effort ‘makes a mockery of our system and who we are as Americans’
Cotton said in a statement he posted on Sunday night: ‘I’m grateful for what the president accomplished over the past four years, which is why I campaigned vigorously for his reelection.
‘But objecting to certified electoral votes won’t give him a second term—it will only embolden those Democrats who want to erode further our system of constitutional government.’
His statement co-mingled his objections to the tactics of GOP loyalists – which other opponents warned would give Congress rather than the people the power to choose the president – in statements supporting Trump and some of his charges.
Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., came out publicly early to say he would challenge electors from states Trump lost
Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) led a group of senators writing to say they would challenge the election results, despite Trump defeating him in 2016 and insulting his wife
‘I share the concerns of many Arkansans about irregularities in the presidential election, especially in states that rushed through election-law changes to relax standards for voting-by-mail.
‘I also share their disappointment with the election results. I therefore support a commission to study the last election and propose reforms to protect the integrity of our elections.’
Trump’s Dirty Dozen
Senator Josh Hawley – Missouri – has already said he will object
The Cruz faction
Senator Ted Cruz – Texas
Senator Ron Johnson – Wisconsin
Senator James Lankford – Oklahoma
Senator Steve Daines – Montana
Senator John Kennedy – Louisiana
Senator Marsha Blackburn – Tennessee
Senator Mike Braun – Indiana
Senator-elect Cynthia Lummis – Wyoming
Senator-elect Tommy Tuberville – Alabama
Senator-elect Bill Hagerty – Tennessee
Senator-elect Roger Marshall – Kansas
*Senators-elect will be sworn in as senators on Sunday January 3, and will be eligible to vote on January 6
But Cotton added that states, not Congress, are entrusted to oversee elections and it would be a dangerous precedent for Congress to overturn the results of the November vote.
‘I will not oppose the counting of certified electoral votes on January 6,’ Cotton wrote.
A bipartisan group of ten senators went further in a weekend statement.
‘The 2020 election is over,’ wrote the group, which included Republicans Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Mitt Romney of Utah.
They said attempts to cast doubt on Biden’s victory are ‘contrary to the clearly expressed will of the American people and only serve to undermine Americans´ confidence in the already determined election results.’
Ohio GOP Sen. Rob Portman said in a statement Monday he will not go along with the challenge.
‘The Constitution created a system for electing the President through the Electoral College that ensures the people and the states hold the power, not Congress,” he said. “I cannot support allowing Congress to thwart the will of the voters.”
Former House Speaker Paul Ryan, a Republican who sits on the board of Fox Corporation, said in a rare statement that ‘Biden´s victory is entirely legitimate.’
Ryan said efforts to cast doubt on Biden’s win ‘strike at the foundation of our republic.’
The third ranking House Republican, Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, issued a lengthy memo blasting the congressional overturn effort saying it would ‘set an exceptionally dangerous precedent.’
‘The scheme by members of Congress to reject the certification of the presidential election makes a mockery of our system and who we are as Americans,’ wrote Maryland Republican Gov. Larry Hogan.
Cotton has now joined other Republicans Ben Sasse, Roy Blunt and Mitt Romney who have also spoken out against their party members challenging the election.
Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska warned such challenges are a ‘dangerous ploy’ threatening the nation’s civic norms.
‘I will not be participating in a project to overturn the election,’ Sasse wrote, calling it a dangerous ploy.’
The blowback came after a dozen Republicans said before the release of the explosive Trump tape they would contest the election.
Texas Sen. Cruz was joined in the statement by Senators Ron Johnson, James Lankford, Steve Daines, John Kennedy, Marsha Blackburn, Mike Braun, along with Cynthia Lummis, Tommy Tuberville, Bill Hagerty, and Roger Marshall, all of whom will be sworn in as senators on Sunday in the new Congress.
In a statement, Cruz and the other senators said they intend to vote to reject electors from swing states that have been at the center of President Trump’s unproven assertions of election fraud and will call for the establishment of a commission to investigate claims of fraud on an emergency basis.
‘We intend to vote on January 6 to reject the electors from disputed states as not `regularly given´ and `lawfully certified´ (the statutory requisite), unless and until that emergency 10-day audit is completed,’ they wrote in the statement.