By Sen. Amy Klobuchar
When President Donald Trump tweeted “See you in Washington, DC on January 6th,” many Americans were probably scratching their heads.
Jan. 6 is not typically a day of historical significance. For centuries, the day Congress formally receives and counts each state’s electoral votes has come and gone without much fanfare. But this year, President Trump and some of his allies plan to use this day as a final stunt in their misguided and unfounded effort to try to overturn the results of the election. That won’t happen.
As the top Democrat on the Senate Rules Committee, I will be in the House Chamber receiving and reporting on the election certifications from the states. And let me assure you — no matter what chaos some Republicans are trying to create, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be sworn in as the next President and Vice President of the United States on Jan. 20.
Pence can't overturn the election
To be sure, our democracy has suffered because of the Trump presidency and his persistent attacks on our democratic institutions. There will be much to repair. At the same time, our democracy has withstood four years of the Trump administration and I know that it can withstand a few more days.
Nearly two months have passed since President-elect Joe Biden won more than 81 million popular votes — the most of any presidential candidate in history — and 306 Electoral College votes.
More impressive is that President-elect Biden earned those votes in an election that numerous national security experts and a bipartisan group of state and local election officials concluded was “the most secure in American history.” Even former Attorney General William Barr said the Justice Department found no evidence of widespread voter fraud that could change the outcome of the 2020 election. And Republican elected officials, including leaders like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have accepted the results of the election.
That hasn’t stopped President Trump from obsessively making baseless accusations. But these claims are just that — baseless. Since Election Day, more than 80 judges have rejected Trump and his Republican allies’ lawsuits and many of those judges were appointed by Trump himself.
Yet, despite all of this, dozens of Republican members of Congress have indicated that on Jan. 6 they plan to challenge the electoral votes from some states President-elect Biden won, something that has only occurred in both chambers twice in more than 120 years. In both historical cases, bipartisan majorities in Congress voted to reject the challenge. And we know that they will do the same this year.
Others have suggested that Vice President Mike Pence, who is expected to preside over the Joint Session of Congress, may attempt to single-handedly reject valid slates of electors from states that Biden won and replace them with slates of Trump electors. This assertion is as crazy as it sounds — even if he wanted to, Pence could not legally overturn the results of this election.
No middle ground after Georgia call
While these attempts are futile, we must remember that there are many more people of courage who have chosen to put our democracy and our country in front of their own personal political ambitions. They have stood tall, including my Republican Senate colleagues like Mitt Romney, Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins and John Thune. To quote Republican Sen. Ben Sasse, the efforts to undermine our election are in fact a “dangerous ploy.”
It is my sincere hope that more follow these senators’ lead, especially after we heard the president’s call to the Republican Secretary of State in Georgia urging him to “find 11,780 votes.”The words on that tape are a disgrace to our democracy. Now, my Republican colleagues must decide if they are on the side of our Republic, or part of an effort to subvert the will of the voters. On this one there is no middle ground.
The attempt by this president and his allies to overturn this election is undemocratic and it is un-American. Fortunately, in the end, it will also be unsuccessful. Democracy will prevail.
We are in the midst of a pandemic that has killed more than 350,000 Americans. Millions of Americans are out of work. It’s well past time to stop with the distractions and chaos and to start working to address the needs of the American people. Thankfully, on Jan. 20 we will have a president who will lead and put the American people first.