When Congress reconvened on Wednesday, just a few hours after a pro-Trump mob had invaded the Capitol and shut down the tallying of the Electoral College results, some Republican members of the House made a point of distancing themselves from the rioters. They issued statements calling for civility and showered praised on law enforcement. Some suggested that the right-wing goons who paraded around the building breaking windows; overturning furniture; and generally terrorizing elected officials, aides, and Capitol workers, were actually part of an antifa false-flag operation. This wasn’t what they were all about, they explained.
And then an overwhelming majority of the House Republican caucus voted to do exactly what the mob wanted. More than 120 Republican House members voted to reject Arizona’s Electoral College votes. The end game of rejecting Arizona’s electoral votes, as Trump and his allies have outlined for weeks, would be to effectively strip 3 million citizens of their say in the election and throw their votes in the trash. All because of a bunch of made-up conspiracy theories and complaints about the state’s voter registration deadline.
303-121: House joined the Senate in voting to reject the objection to Arizona's electoral votes. All 121 voting Yes to in support the objection were Republicans including McCarthy and Scalise. pic.twitter.com/gSwxykxze9
— Craig Caplan (@CraigCaplan) January 7, 2021
These Republicans didn’t have enough votes in the House to actually do this, and the corresponding push in the Senate lost 93–6. It was merely a symbolic vote—but symbolic of something deeply troubling. Far more House Republicans reject the results of the election than accept them. They believe (or pretend to—when does it stop mattering?) the election was stolen from them. “We all have some responsibility here,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R) said after the violent takeover. He voted to sustain the objection to Arizona’s results too, as did House Minority Whip Steve Scalise. This is just what the Republican Party is right now, and it’ll take a lot more than sternly worded statements and invocations of Benjamin Franklin to walk back from this ledge.