Republicans who objected to the Electoral College helped inspire the Capitol insurrection. They must face consequences and be removed.
- Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building in an attempt to disrupt the certification of the presidential election.
- The rioters were pushed to act by Trump and his Republican enablers, who led them to believe that the election was stolen from them.
- The members of Congress who objected to the Electoral College and inspired the mob should be removed from office.
- If Republicans don't face consequences for this, we'll doom future generations to the same fate.
- This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.
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Years of lies, accusations, and delusion have culminated in what can only be described as an American tragedy. While Congress worked to certify the results of President-elect Joe Biden's election victory, a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building in an attempt to disrupt the process.
They broke windows, ransacked offices, and even had a standoff with armed security. One woman was shot and killed. Potential explosive devices were found by police. It was the most significant breach of the Capitol building since the British did so during the War of 1812.
The rioters deserve to be charged for their crimes, but they didn't act alone. President Donald Trump and Republican members of the House and Senate have been fanning the flames of insurrection for months. If they don't face legitimate consequences for their actions, we'll risk normalizing treasonous behavior for future generations.
A broken oath
Section 3 of the 14th amendment to the US Constitution states that no elected official "shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against [the Constitution]." Make no mistake: Sen. Ted Cruz, Sen. Josh Hawley, and many others helped incite this insurrection by following Trump's lead in objecting to the results of the election. They supported the idea that the election was stolen from Trump, despite having no evidence, and invigorated his base in doing so.
By seeking to overturn the election in their official capacity, they gave congressional legitimacy to a cause that has been known to excite Trump's supporters. They are complicit in the violence that occurred today in DC, and as lawyers and Harvard Law school lecturer Deepak Gupta tweeted these actions could very well amount to a violation of the 14th amendment.
Some Republican leaders knew well how dangerous this objection ploy could be. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Ben Sasse called for Republicans to drop the challenge, but it didn't work.
GOP Rep. Paul Gosar officially objected to the election results during the certification process. He received a standing ovation on the floor from his fellow Republicans and — since every objection from a House member needs to be supported by a senator — was followed by Ted Cruz.
Cruz has supported Trump's lies on election fraud for months. In the Senate, he delivered a speech objecting to Biden's win, saying "For those who respect the voters, simply telling the voters, go jump in a lake, the fact that you have deep concerns is of no moment to us…that jeopardizes…the legitimacy of this and subsequent elections." Cruz chose to obfuscate the process of democracy, knowing that the move would encourage Trump supporters — many of whom had gathered near the Capitol.
Shortly before the meeting of Congress, Hawley was photographed waving to the Trump supporters who showed up at the Capitol. Those supporters were encouraged to be there by Trump himself.
The certification process was interrupted by the rioters who breached the Capitol building, but at least 140 Republicans planned to object to the results, actively lying to their constituents about election fraud, causing them to march on the Capitol and engage in violence.
In response to former Democratic Rep. Beto O'Rourke's accusation of sedition, Cruz tweeted that "violence is wrong." Hawley tweeted "the violence must end." But these messages are too little, too late.
And while the senators at least tried to condemn the violence they helped stoke, Trump romanticized the rioters' cause, tweeting: "These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long."
Regardless of their reactions, the damage is done. Every single representative and senator who objected to results should face justice. By objecting, they legitimized unfounded claims of election fraud, inspiring Trump's supporters to react. By violating the 14th amendment, they broke their oath of office and deserve expulsion. Trump is also a walking threat of violence at this point and should be impeached.
Already, freshman Democratic Rep. Cori Bush said she plans to introduce a bill to remove the House members who objected to the Electoral College for helping to inspire the riot. This should be taken seriously and a similar move should be taken in the Senate.
We've tolerated the bombastic behavior of Trump and his enablers for far too long. If they don't face justice for an act as egregious as insurrection, we'll give this behavior credibility and doom future Americans to the same fate.
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