GOP leaders silent on Trump’s claims that VP could overturn elections
While the GOP still try to manage the mess from January 6th. Former President Donald Trump drew howls from critics in both parties for endorsing the notion this weekend that vice presidents should — and do — have the authority to overturn election results.
But the response from GOP leaders on Capitol Hill has been something else entirely: silence.
Republican leaders remained mute on Monday as the outcry grew louder over Trump’s bid to empower vice presidents to reject electoral votes certified by the states.
In a statement Sunday evening, he hammered Mike Pence’s handling of that process last January, shortly after Joe Biden’s 2020 victory, lamenting that his former vice president “could have overturned the Election” but simply opted not to.
That argument — the latest iteration of Trump’s false narrative that the 2020 election was “stolen” by a conspiracy of corrupt election officials, tech companies and foreign governments — has been roundly denounced by a long and growing list of legal scholars, good government advocates and lawmakers, who warn that Trump’s account is not only legally fallacious, but poses a direct threat to the core tenets of the American experiment.
Yet the top Republican leaders have declined to weigh in one way or the other. Asked Monday to comment on Trump’s proposal for overturning elections, the offices of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), head of the House Republican conference, did not respond.
A similar silence came from the offices of some of Trump’s most vocal conservative allies, including Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Jim Banks (R-Ind.) and Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.).
Aides to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who has spent the past year at odds with Trump, also didn’t return a request for comment.
The silence highlights the dilemma facing Republican leaders, particularly those in the House, who have designs to flip the chamber in November’s midterm elections and don’t want to agitate Trump, who remains the party’s standard bearer.
But there are risks in that strategy, as well, since remaining in Trump’s good graces has meant endorsing, or at least indulging, the lie that his defeat was invalid and President Biden’s victory felonious — a lie that’s eroded public trust in the nation’s election systems even as it’s become a litmus test for maintaining power in the House GOP conference. Take it too far, some Republicans are warning, and it will backfire on the party at the polls.
“If I run and if I win, we will treat those people from January 6th fairly. And if it requires pardons, we will give them pardons because they are being treated so unfairly,” Trump said.
More than 700 people have been charged in connection with the riot.
On Monday, he issued another statement through his political action committee promoting a new film, created by the conservative commentator Dinesh D’Souza, purporting to reveal rampant voter fraud at the polls in 2020.
“The way our votes were taken away is a disgrace to our Nation,” Trump said. “It must be fixed.”
Some far-right House Republicans who, like Trump, have tried to downplay the severity of the attack on the Capitol have similarly described the treatment of jailed Jan. 6 defendants awaiting trial as “persecution.”
By contrast, few House Republicans are willing to openly defy Trump when it comes to the attack on the Capitol.
Only Kinzinger and Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the other Republican serving on the House select committee investigating the Capitol riot, pushed back on Trump saying Pence should have tried to overturn the presidential election results.
“Trump uses language he knows caused the Jan 6 violence; suggests he’d pardon the Jan 6 defendants, some of whom have been charged with seditious conspiracy; threatens prosecutors; and admits he was attempting to overturn the election,” Cheney tweeted on Monday. “He’d do it all again if given the chance.”
While most Republicans have avoided weighing in, even one of Trump’s closest allies made no attempt to defend pardoning people charged with crimes related to the Capitol riot.
“No, I don’t want to send any signal that it was OK to defile the Capitol,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said when asked on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday if he agreed with Trump’s idea of issuing pardons.
“I don’t want to do anything that would make this more likely in the future,” Graham added.
But i still wonder why Trump is to blame while the likes of Maxime Waters and Nancy Pelosi remain untouched