WASHINGTON - Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell issued a stern rebuke of his party’s objection to election results during Wednesday’s congressional electoral vote count.
The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives convened for a joint session to count the electoral votes that will confirm Joe Biden as the 46th president.
For days, a growing list of Republicans committed to challenging the outcome of the election, citing widespread voter fraud claims that have been disproven and dismissed by officials and judges on the state and federal level.
Even so, Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona objected to the ballots from his home state. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, signed on to the measure, plunging both chambers into two hours of debate.
Moments after the Senate retired to its chamber, McConnell said overruling the presidential election would "damage our republic forever."
"Nothing before us proves illegality 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. The Constitution gives us here in congress a limited role. We cannot simply declare ourselves a national board of elections on steroids." McConnell said, scolding the GOP minority taking part in the objections.
After hours of debate, the House and Senate will vote on whether the objection should be sustained. Democrats control the House, meaning the challenge faces near certain doom.
Republicans currently control the Senate, but McConnell had encouraged his caucus to resist challenging the results. McConnell cited his 36 years of service in the Senate when he said this will be the most important vote he’s ever taken.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) arrives at the U.S. Capitol and walks to his office on Jan. 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
"We're debating a step that has never been taken in American history — whether Congress should overrule the voters and overturn a presidential election," McConnell told the Senate.
President Donald Trump has spent months falsely claiming the election was stolen from him. McConnell acknowledged the president’s beliefs while decrying efforts to overturn the election.
"We'd never see the whole nation accept an election again. Every four years it would be a scramble for power at any cost," McConnell stressed. "The Electoral College, which most of us on this side have been defending for years, would cease to exist, leaving many of our states with no real say at all in choosing a president."
"The effects would go even beyond the elections themselves," he continued.
This story was reported from Atlanta.