Several GOP Senators have faced severe backlash after objecting to the electoral count of votes for Joe Biden on Wednesday January 6th. Many other Republican Senators have faced lesser criticism for their support of President Trump, as attacks mount against the Republican Party and President Trump following the storming of the U.S. Capitol building that halted the counting of votes.
This has sparked Democrats in the House, particularly Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, to go so far as to call for the President’s impeachment if his Cabinet refused to invoke the 25th Amendment, just days prior to the end of Trump’s first term in office. Backlash following the Capitol Hill protests have been targeted most at those who defended President Trump the most during the joint session of Congress, as local, state and federal Democratic lawmakers call for Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Josh Hawley (R-MO) to resign or be expelled from the Senate.
Despite the backlash, Senator Hawley in particular received a great deal of priase from Trump supporters and applaud from the White House when he became the first member of the U.S. Senate to pledge that he would object to the electoral votes of Pennsylvania going to Joe Biden. Hawley cited a great deal of concern with the massive number of allegations and evidence pointing to voter fraud in the Keystone state, in addition to instances where the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania and the Governor had a hand in re-writing the state’s law to extend the use and date for receiving mail-in ballots in the November 3rd election.
“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,” Senator Hawley said in a statement regarding his decision to object, “And I cannot vote to certify without pointing out the unprecedented effort of mega corporations, including Facebook and Twitter, to interfere in this election, in support of Joe Biden.”
In the wake of the storming of the Capitol building by rioters, some GOP Senators changed their mind in their initial decision to object to the electoral count. But Senator Hawley unflinchingly stood his ground, inspiring six other Republican Senators to vote with him and join 138 House Republicans in objecting to Joe Biden’s disputed victory of Pennsylvania in the November 2020 election, while six Senators and 121 House Republicans objected to Arizona. 147 lawmakers objected in total.
While the attacks against Cruz and Hawley have overwhelmingly been from Democrat congressmen and liberal media pundits, the two have also faced attacks from some establishment Republicans like Senators Mitt Romney (R-UT) and John Thune (R-SD). They were counted as part of the contingent of Republicans whom President Trump excoriated for their “weakness” to not object to Biden’s election win or call for investigation into widespread evidence of voter fraud, during his fiery “Save America” rally on January 6th. Peverill Squire, professor of political science at the University of Missouri-Columbia, presumed that Hawley has closely aligned himself with President Trump not just because they agree on principle, but because it would be politically advantageous to help represent the massive Trump movement, even for a potential run for President in 2024.
“Elevating his national profile, probably because he [Hawley] is contemplating running for the GOP presidential nomination in 2024”, Squire said in a statement. “The political calculation he is making is that core Trump supporters will provide him a base on which to build a run for the nomination.”