Dec 31, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Sasse: "Ambitious" Republicans objecting to Electoral College "are playing with fire"

Ben Sasse.

Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) said he "will not be participating" in an effort in Congress to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory on Jan. 6, writing on Facebook that he has been urging "colleagues also to reject this dangerous ploy."

Driving the news: Sasse's post comes a day after Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) became the first senator to say he will object to the Electoral College certification, joining a group of House Republicans.

  • Sasse appeared to take a veiled jab at Hawley, who is widely considered a potential 2024 Republican presidential candidate, writing: "Let’s be clear what is happening here: We have a bunch of ambitious politicians who think there’s a quick way to tap into the president’s populist base without doing any real, long-term damage."
  • "But they’re wrong – and this issue is bigger than anyone’s personal ambitions. Adults don’t point a loaded gun at the heart of legitimate self-government," he added.

The big picture: Sasse wrote that there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud that could have changed the result of the election, and the "president and his allies are playing with fire" by contesting the election in "courts, then state legislatures, now the Congress."

  • “All the clever arguments and rhetorical gymnastics in the world won’t change the fact that this January 6th effort is designed to disenfranchise millions of Americans simply because they voted for someone in a different party," Sasse wrote.
"[Trump and his allies] have unsuccessfully called on judges and are now calling on federal officeholders to invalidate millions and millions of votes. If you make big claims, you had better have the evidence. But the president doesn’t and neither do the institutional arsonist members of Congress who will object to the Electoral College vote."
Sen. Ben Sasse on Facebook

Between the lines: Biden will undoubtedly still be certified the winner of the election, since the Trump-backed effort would have to win support from skeptical Republicans and the Democratic-led House of Representatives.

  • But the move will force Senate Republicans to go on the record on whether they agree with Trump's baseless allegations — many of which have been thrown out in court — that there was widespread election fraud.
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and other members of GOP leadership in the Senate have urged fellow Republicans not to participate in the effort.
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