McConnell declines to take sides on GOP challenge to electoral certification, saying he 'won't judge anybody for their decision'
- Despite previously acknowledging President-elect Joe Biden's win, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has refused to publicly weigh in on GOP plans to object to the electoral certification process on Wednesday.
- In a recent conference call with senators, McConnell said that "there's a lot of noise out there and I won't judge anybody for their decision," according to a Politico report on Monday.
- The GOP leader has recently been at odds with President Donald Trump over legislative issues, including coronavirus stimulus and an annual defense spending bill.
- However, McConnell has not criticized Republican lawmakers for attempting to challenge the certification process, unlike some of his GOP colleagues.
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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has refused to take sides amid Republican infighting over the upcoming Electoral College tally on Wednesday, a process that cements President-elect Joe Biden's 2020 win.
Despite previously acknowledging Biden's victory, McConnell has not publicly weighed in on whether or not he supports a mounting GOP effort to challenge the presidential certification.
During a recent conference call with senators, the GOP leader said "this is a very difficult decision for each one of you, you each have to make it yourselves," according to Republican Sen. Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, who was on the call, Politico reported on Monday evening.
"'I've voted twice on declarations of war,'" McConnell said, per Cramer, in the Politico report. "'This is right up there,'" McConnell continued, but "'there's a lot of noise out there and I won't judge anybody for their decision.'"
McConnell's office did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment. A spokesperson for Cramer confirmed his statements in Politico to Insider.
Cramer is among a slate of Republican senators who have opposed their GOP colleagues' recent announcements to challenge the certification process, which involves Congress counting each state's electoral votes to formalize Biden's victory. At least 13 Republican senators, led by Josh Hawley of Missouri and Ted Cruz of Texas, have signaled they intend to object. They join dozens more House Republicans who have said they plan to do the same in the lower chamber.
The plan, which appears to be a last-ditch effort to tip the election results in President Donald Trump's favor, is virtually guaranteed to collapse. Per the Constitution and Electoral Count Act of 1887, Congress may open up debate on the House and Senate floors over the electoral votes, yet a majority vote is needed in both chambers in order to overturn any state's electors. Since Democrats control the House, such efforts are expected to be killed.
Republican feuding over the issue has intensified this week, yet McConnell has neglected to unify the party under a single position — a stark contrast to his approach last month.
After electors from all 50 states and the District of Columbia officially cast their votes for president on December 14, McConnell reportedly urged Republican senators not to block Congress from declaring Biden the winner on January 6. The Kentucky Republican said contesting the process would be "terrible," as GOP leaders would eventually have to reject the bid and place themselves at odds with Trump, who has been vying to stay in the White House.
However, as of late, McConnell has tiptoed around the election matter. On the contrary, he hadn't been afraid to stand up to Trump over recent legislative issues. Leading up to the new year, McConnell had been preoccupied with approving a coronavirus stimulus bill without higher stimulus checks demanded by Trump, and overriding the president's veto of an annual defense spending bill. Both came to pass in McConnell's favor.
Trump also hasn't singled out McConnell recently for not siding with his election efforts, Politico reported, though the president did briefly call him out for acknowledging Biden's win in December.
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