A total of 12 US Republican senators, sitting and incoming, have made it known that they will oppose the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s election at a joint sitting of congress on January 6.
Vice-president Mike Pence, who will preside, welcomed the move to overturn the presidential election.
Eleven senators, including former presidential candidate Ted Cruz, made the announcement on Saturday. They joined Josh Hawley, who had already become the first senator to announce that he would oppose the certification, reportedly alongside more than 100 Republican members of the House.
Slamming the move in a tweet on Saturday, President Donald Trump said, “An attempt to steal a landslide win. Can’t let it happen!”
The House and Senate will certify Biden’s victory, a final step in the presidential election process that is usually a formality, in a joint session on January 6.
Trump is pushing the Republicans through appeals and threats to oppose the certification. But the move is widely expected to fail, as did the 60 lawsuits filed by him and his allies and the vote recounts.
The joint session is the final attempt by Trump to overturn his defeat to Biden in the presidential election, alleging that he lost because of voter fraud and irregularities in Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Arizona and Nevada – the swing states – and also in Georgia, an otherwise Republican stronghold.
In a joint statement, the 11 senators and senators-elect who joined Hawley called for an audit of the election results – in unidentified states – in 10 days’ time and said they will vote against the certification otherwise. Congress is unlikely to agree to their demand.
Pence’s chief of staff Marc Short released a statement shortly after, saying the vice-president “shares the concerns” about voter fraud and irregularities and “welcomes the efforts of members of the House and Senate to use the authority they have under the law to raise objections and bring forward evidence before the congress and the American people on January 6”.
Many Republicans have already accepted the election outcome and recognised Biden as president-elect. Senator Mitt Romney, who is one of them, lashed out at some senators from his party, calling their opposition to the certification an “egregious ploy” that “dangerously threatens our Democratic republic”.
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