Some prominent Republicans on Sunday took aim at members of their party who vowed to challenge President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral victory last week, arguing that those who egged on President Trump’s efforts to delegitimize the election process also fed into Trump’s incitement of his supporters before they ultimately breached the Capitol.
Days before Congress was set to ratify Biden’s electoral victory, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and a group of 10 GOP lawmakers launched a fresh effort to object to the President-elect’s votes by the Electoral College. Cruz’s effort followed Sen. Josh Hawley’s (R-MO) vow to object to the certification of the Electoral College votes by baselessly asserting that a handful of states lost by Trump, which includes the battleground state of Pennsylvania, failed to follow their own election laws.
Even after the Capitol siege, which prompted some Republicans such as outgoing Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) to drop their objections, Cruz and Hawley still plowed through with their objections to electoral college results, only for their gambits to fail.
Last week, Sens. Ben Sasse (R-NE) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) criticized their fellow Republican senators who attempted to challenge Biden’s electoral victory as they connected their fruitless efforts to the Trump supporters that attacked the Capitol.
Sasse told NPR on Friday that Hawley did something that was “really dumbass” that helped incite the pro-Trump mob at the Capitol. Cotton similarly pointed the finger at some of his Republican colleagues who objected to the certification process, which he said partially fueled the riots at the Capitol by giving “false hope” that election results could be overturned, during a Fox News interview on Thursday.
On Sunday, Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), who is the head of the congressional committee overseeing Biden’s inauguration, deflected when asked whether Hawley and other Republicans who vowed to challenge Biden’s electoral victory were complicit in feeding into Trump supporters’ belief that election results could be overturned.
Blunt replied that he didn’t buy into Hawley nor Cruz’s electoral challenge gambits in the first place, and that he doubts that the second impeachment of Trump would happen before the end of the President’s presidency in less than two weeks from now.
However, more Republicans aired their grievances with colleagues such as Cruz and Hawley, as they connected the breaching of the Capitol last week to the GOP push to delegitimize the election process:
Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA)
During an interview on “Meet the Press,” Toomey — who became the second Republican senator to call on Trump to resign after Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) — was pressed on the kind of responsibility he holds for Hawley and Cruz in light of the Capitol riots.
“They’re going to have a lot of soul searching to do,” Toomey said.
Toomey went on to call out his colleagues for being “complicit in the big lie, this big lie that Donald Trump won the election in a landslide and it was all stolen.”
“They compounded that with this notion that somehow this could all be reversed in the final moments of the congressional proceedings. So that’s going to haunt them for a very long time,” Toomey said.
Although he thinks it’s a long shot to boot Hawley and Cruz out of the Senate, Toomey warned “they’re going to pay a very heavy price.”
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R)
When asked about how responsible the Republican lawmakers who bolstered Trump’s bogus claims of widespread election fraud, Hogan, who called on Trump to resign or be removed from office, told CNN that he’s “embarrassed and ashamed” of Republican members of Congress who are “worshipping at the altar of Donald Trump.”
“Quite frankly, as a lifelong Republican who was a chairman of Youth for Reagan, who’s dedicated my life to the Republican Party, I’m embarrassed and ashamed of some of the members of Congress, some of the senators for their actions, especially after this attack on the Capitol, that they continued to head in that direction,” Hogan said. “I think history will decide how they’re remembered and what their fate is going to be in the party.”
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) January 10, 2021
Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL)
In an interview on ABC News, Kinzinger argued that so few Republicans had spoken out against Trump because “a lot of it is fear,” before going on to add that “the best thing for the country to heal would be for (Trump) to resign” and that “the next best thing is the 25th Amendment.”
“You know, there’s fear that infects so many sides of the debate right now, right? People that have been radicalized are fearful of, you know, Satanists underground government, which QAnon preaches,” Kinzinger said. “Some on the left are fearful, probably very rightfully so of some of those in the right.”
Kinzinger also decried how Vice President Mike Pence — who reportedly broke with Trump by telling the President ahead of the joint session to certify Biden’s electoral victory last week that the VP lacks the power to change the election results — is now perceived as “public enemy number one in Trump world.”
“But if you’re going to be fearful — just my humble opinion — if you’re going to be fearful in this job, it may not be the right job for you at this moment in time,” Kinzinger said.
Former DHS official Chris Krebs
Krebs, the former Homeland Security official who was fired by the President after debunking election-related myths and conspiracy theories, slammed Trump for turning his legacy into “a heap of ashes,” during an interview on CBS.
Krebs, who identifies as a lifelong Republican, called on Trump to resign and for every Republican lawmaker who egged on the President’s baseless allegations of widespread voter fraud to do the same.
“I don’t know if (Trump is) capable of (resigning), but that’s the best way to prevent further violence, to prevent further erosion of confidence in democracy over the next four years,” Krebs said. “And every single Republican on the Hill that continues to support these election irregularities has to do the same thing. They have to denounce it and they have to come back to the middle.”
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) January 10, 2021