- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 22, 2020

The plan by a group of House Republicans to overturn the presidential election next month in Congress will be a test of lawmakers’ personal loyalties to President Trump, one of the participants told The Washington Times on Tuesday.

Rep.-elect Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia said Mr. Trump deserves the last-ditch effort to keep him in office when Congress meets on Jan. 6 to accept or reject the Electoral College’s results.

She said Trump voters will be watching to see whether Republican lawmakers stand with Mr. Trump and reject electoral votes for President-elect Joseph R. Biden from the contested battleground states where he says election fraud occurred.

“This is their time, and if they have to go on record and show where their support is, then I believe the American people, the voters — Republican voters — need to know that,” she said in an interview. “Over the past four years, Republican voters, their loyalty is now to President Trump — most of them — and not necessarily to the Republican Party.”

She criticized Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for urging Republican senators not to join the House effort. She said Mr. McConnell is turning his back on Mr. Trump after the president helped him win reelection in Kentucky.

“He was able to win with the president’s support, so I think Mitch McConnell should be the first one leading in the Senate,” she said.

Mrs. Greene and several other Republicans met with Mr. Trump at the White House on Monday to plan their effort to block Mr. Biden’s slates of presidential electors from at least five or six states. The meetings, which Mrs. Greene called the president to organize, lasted more than three hours.

“He was thrilled and excited,” she said of the president. “He’s fought for the American people for four years. He fought harder than anyone. He said it over and over: ‘Republicans need to fight harder.’”

Vice President Mike Pence, who reportedly has angered Mr. Trump for not contesting the election results aggressively, also attended the meetings. As president of the Senate, Mr. Pence will preside over the counting of each candidate’s electoral votes on Jan. 6.

“He’s on board,” Mrs. Greene said of the vice president.

Speaking at a Turning Point USA event in Florida on Tuesday, Mr. Pence voiced support for fighting the election results.

“As our election contest continues, I’ll make you a promise: We’re going to keep fighting until every legal vote is counted,” Mr. Pence said to deafening cheers. “We’re going to keep fighting until every illegal vote is thrown out. We’re going to win Georgia, we’re going to save America, and we’ll never stop fighting to make America great again.”

The Electoral College officially elected Mr. Biden on Dec. 14, giving the Democrat 306 electoral votes to Mr. Trump’s 232. A candidate needs 270 to win the presidency.

The president and his campaign attorneys have failed to sway any state legislatures or governors with their claims of illegal mail-in voting in swing states. Courts have repeatedly rejected the campaign’s lawsuits seeking to overturn the results in those states.

Congress votes in January every four years to accept, or not, the Electoral College’s vote. The House and Senate vote on each state’s slate of presidential electors individually, in the last legally mandated step before the inauguration on Jan. 20.

The president and his allies are increasingly putting their energy into the last-ditch effort to reject Mr. Biden’s electoral votes.

To challenge a state’s Electoral College’s results, at least one House lawmaker and one senator must object. House Democrats have tried it after all of the three Republican presidential wins in the past 20 years: in 2001, 2005 and 2017. But the efforts always failed because of a lack of a sponsor in the Senate.

Mr. McConnell has called on his colleagues to reject the effort because it would put them in an uncomfortable position of voting for or against Mr. Trump. The Senate’s second-ranking Republican, Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, told reporters Monday that the House Republicans’ plan is “going down like a shot dog.”

The president slapped Senate Republican leaders on Twitter on Tuesday night, threatening a primary challenge to Mr. Thune.

“Republicans in the Senate so quickly forget. Right now they would be down 8 seats without my backing them in the last Election. RINO [Republican In Name Only] John Thune, ‘Mitch’s boy’, should just let it play out. South Dakota doesn’t like weakness. He will be primaried in 2022, political career over!!!” he tweeted.

So far, no Republican senator has committed publicly to oppose Mr. Biden’s electors, although Sen.-elect Tommy Tuberville of Alabama has strongly suggested he will do so.

If that happens, the House and Senate would each vote on the challenge, for example, to Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes for Mr. Biden. A majority of both chambers would need to vote to reject the electoral votes to erase them from Mr. Biden’s total.

If both Mr. Biden and Mr. Trump lack the required 270 electoral votes, then the House would choose the president and the Senate would choose the vice president.

Democrats hold the majority in the House, so most observers expect the pro-Trump effort to fail. But it’s unclear whether the House must follow a rule of “one state, one vote” or whether all 435 House members get a vote. Rep. Mo Brooks, the Alabama Republican who launched the plan, said the Supreme Court would need to settle that question.

If the Supreme Court decides that each state gets a vote, then Republicans would have an advantage because more state U.S. House delegations are majority Republican.

Other House Republicans supporting the plan include Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio, Matt Gaetz of Florida, Andy Biggs of Arizona, and Jody Hice of Georgia.

After the strategy session, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows tweeted that lawmakers were “preparing to fight back against mounting evidence of voter fraud.”

“Stay tuned,” he said.

Some members of the Republicans’ incoming class of 45 freshman lawmakers, such as Mrs. Greene, also are giving momentum to the effort. Rep.-elect Madison Cawthorn, North Carolina Republican, said at the Turning Point conference that he is on board.

“When you look at what’s happened in a lot of these liberal swing states, that have liberal governors and liberal secretaries of state, you can see that they have broken the law and gone against our Constitution with this election,” Mr. Cawthorn said. “And so, because of that, on Jan. 6, as the people of western North Carolina sent me to do a job, I will be contesting the election.”

Democrat Rita Hart of Iowa is undercutting her own party’s argument. She asked the House on Tuesday to investigate and overturn her race, which she lost by six votes. She argues that 22 ballots were wrongly excluded and other votes weren’t examined during a recount.

In a notice of contest, Ms. Hart said she would have netted 15 votes and defeated Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District. She asked the House to nullify the state-certified results.

Mrs. Greene said she is optimistic about the Republicans’ chances on Jan. 6.

“I don’t believe in sitting around and just allowing an election to be stolen,” she said. “I think once everyone sees the evidence we’ll be presenting, it’s hard to deny.”

She wants voters to call their House members and senators and demand they get on board the effort “and not to allow this election to be stolen.”

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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