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Rep. Jim Jordan, one of President Trump’s most outspoken allies in Congress, dodged questions from a Democratic colleague on Tuesday who pressed him to state unequivocally that the 2020 presidential election “was not stolen,” and that President-elect Joe Biden defeated Trump “fair and square.”
“I’m asking you to make a statement that the election was not stolen,” House Rules Committee Chair Jim McGovern, D-Mass., told Jordan, an Ohio Republican, in a session held by videoconference. “That Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won fair and square. That’s the question.”
“No, the question you asked me was ‘Is Joe Biden, the vice president, president-elect?’ And I said yes, of course he is,” Jordan responded.
McGovern was not satisfied with that answer. “Just repeating the question: So Joe Biden won fair and square?”
“He won the election because how the process works is the last chance to object is Jan. 6, and that’s—” Jordan said before being interrupted by McGovern.
“If we want to talk about healing, we have to talk about truth,” McGovern said. “And if we want to talk about healing, we also have to deal with the issue of accountability.”
House Democrats are preparing to vote on Wednesday about impeaching Trump on a charge of “incitement of insurrection” for his role in the Jan. 6 siege on the U.S. Capitol. Jordan and other Republicans call the move divisive.
“I do not see how that unifies the country,” Jordan said in a Sunday interview with Fox News host Maria Bartiromo. “I hope what happens is what Sen. Graham said Friday night when he asked Vice President Joe Biden, President-elect Joe Biden, to give a speech to the country and say we should not be pursuing this impeachment, we should not be pursuing the 25th Amendment.”
Yet for Democrats the linkage between unsubstantiated voter fraud claims and the insurrection at the Capitol is clear and warrants action.
“On Wednesday, the President incited a deadly insurrection against America that targeted the very heart of our Democracy,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a Monday statement. “The President represents an imminent threat to our Constitution, our Country and the American people, and he must be removed from office immediately.”
But as McGovern’s line of questioning to Jordan shows, a core issue for Democrats is whether Trump’s disproven claims of voter fraud, and the willingness of Republican lawmakers to spread them, will continue to go unchallenged.
It was Trump who exhorted his supporters to attend the Jan. 6 “Stop the Steal” rally, based on the flawed premise that massive voter fraud had robbed him of victory. For weeks Trump promoted every wild and unfounded claim he could find to help explain his defeat in both the popular vote and the Electoral College, and Republicans like Jordan helped propagate that message even before Election Day.
Democrats are trying to steal the election, after the election.
Chief Justice Roberts is letting them do it. https://t.co/SQPh0SYtgl
— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) October 20, 2020
Since the election, Trump’s legal team and its allies have lost 64 court cases in an attempt to overturn the results. Recounts in Wisconsin and Georgia failed to change the outcome in those states, and the argument from Trump’s supporters shifted from alleged irregularities to assertions that in view of the pandemic some states had loosened absentee and vote-by-mail regulations without passing the changes through their legislatures. Even so, election officials in every state, including the ones where Trump has contested the results, have stepped forward to report there is simply no evidence of voter fraud.
After Trump directed his supporters to march to the U.S. Capitol to protest the congressional joint session to count the Electoral College votes submitted and certified by all the states, a mob stormed the building. Five people were killed and dozens of police officers were injured in the melee.
Yet even after the violence, stoked by weeks of election fraud claims, unfolded, Jordan and 138 of his House Republican colleagues cast votes to block the certification.
Outside of Washington, the consequences for members are mounting. Companies including Marriott, AT&T, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Comcast, Best Buy, Amazon and Verizon (the parent company of Yahoo News) have announced they will suspend campaign donations to candidates who contested the Electoral College certification. Others, such as Facebook, JPMorgan Chase, BP and Goldman Sachs, said they have paused donations to political action committees in general.
On Tuesday, Harvard University’s Institute of Politics asked Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., to step down from its advisory committee because she “made public assertions about voter fraud in November’s presidential election that have no basis in evidence.”
A day earlier, citing their votes to challenge the certification of Biden’s win, Hallmark Cards asked Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., and Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Kan., to return donations its employees had made to the two politicians through its political action committee over the past two years, the Kansas City Star reported.
“Hallmark believes the peaceful transition of power is part of the bedrock of our democratic system, and we abhor violence of any kind,” Hallmark spokeswoman JiaoJiao Shen said in a statement. “The recent actions of Senators Josh Hawley and Roger Marshall do not reflect our company’s values. As a result, HALLPAC requested Sens. Hawley and Marshall to return all HALLPAC campaign contributions.”
Not every Republican who voted along with Jordan is standing by the decision to try to keep Trump in power. North Carolina freshman Rep. Madison Cawthorn said this week that he regretted his.
“Once you start floating this idea of election fraud and people outright stealing an election and cheating, that has only one outcome,” Cawthorn said in an interview with WTVD-TV news. “The party as a whole should have been much more wise about their choice of words.”
But one prominent Republican hasn’t backed away from Jordan: President Trump, who on Tuesday awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in recognition of his role in confronting “the impeachment witch hunt.” (That was Trump’s earlier impeachment, in 2019.) In a departure from previous practice, the ceremony was closed to the media.
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