Shortly after Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) filed an objection to the Arizona election results, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) excoriated President Trump for pushing “sweeping conspiracy theories” during a Senate floor speech on Wednesday.
McConnell kicked off his emotionally charged speech by slamming his Republican colleagues for prompting the debate of “a step that has never been taken in American history: whether Congress should overrule the voters and overturn a presidential election.”
After noting his 36 years in the Senate, McConnell said that his vote will be the “most important” one he’ll cast, and went on to blast Trump’s bogus claims of a “stolen” election.
“The assertions range from specific local allegations to constitutional arguments to sweeping conspiracy theories,” McConnell said.
McConnell stressed his previous support of Trump’s lawsuits contesting election results, before going on to point out that the President’s legal battles have repeatedly proven fruitless.
“I’ve supported the President’s right to use the legal system, dozens of lawsuits, perceived hearings in courtrooms all across our country,” McConnell said. “But over and over the courts rejected these claims including all-star judges whom the President himself has nominated. “
McConnell implored senators to acknowledge that “nothing before us proves illegally anywhere near the massive scale that would have tipped the entire election.”
“Nor can public doubt alone justify a radical break when the doubt itself was incited without any evidence,” McConnell said. “The Constitution gives us here in Congress a limited role. We cannot simply declare ourselves a national board of elections on steroids.”
McConnell continued his stinging rebuke of election fraud falsehoods as he emphasized that President-elect Joe Biden’s victory is a done deal, citing how “the courts and the states have all spoken” and that overruling them would “damage our republic forever.”
“This election actually was not unusually close. Just in recent history, 1976, 2000, and 2004 were all closer than this one. The electoral college margin is almost identical to what it was in 2016,” McConnell said. “If this election were overturned by mere allegations from the losing side, our democracy would enter a death spiral. We’d never see the whole nation accept an election again.”
McConnell fears that the Electoral College “would cease to exist,” which he argued would lead to states having “no real say at all in choosing a President” as well as efforts that “would go even beyond the elections themselves.”
“Self-government, my colleagues, requires a shared commitment to the truth. And a shared respect for the ground rules of our system,” McConnell said. “We cannot keep drifting apart into two separate tribes with a separate set of facts and separate realities.”
McConnell issued a stern condemnation of Republican efforts to delegitimize Biden’s electoral victory, alluding to how Republicans have won the presidency thanks to electoral votes.
“We just spent four years condemning Democrats shameful attempts of the solidity of President Trump’s own election,” McConnell said. “So, look, there can be no double standard. The media that is outraged today spent four years aiding and abetting Democrats’ attacks on our institutions after they lost. But we must not imitate and escalate what we repudiate.”
McConnell concluded that it would be “unfair and wrong” to challenge Biden’s electoral victory this late in the game.
“It would be unfair and wrong to disenfranchise American voters and overrule the courts and the states on this extraordinarily thin basis. And I will not pretend such a vote would be a harmless protest gesture while relying on others to do the right thing,” McConnell said. “I will vote to respect the peoples’ decision and defend our system of government as we know it. “