“Senators, what matters here is not our own futures, not our own short-term destinies, what matters is our democracy’s destiny. Because what we do today, how we vote today, is more important than who we are.”
WASHINGTON – As Congress convened a Joint Session to receive each state’s electoral votes, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), the top Democrat on the Rules Committee with oversight over federal elections, led the defense of Arizona’s election results following an objection signed by Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Representative Paul Gosar (R-AZ) and their colleagues. In her remarks, Klobuchar highlighted the bipartisan group of her Senate colleagues “who have stood up for our democracy, who stand tall for our republic, who believe in an ideal, greater than ourselves, larger than our political parties: That ideal is America.”
Klobuchar also pointed out that high ranking officials in President Trump’s Department of Homeland Security called the election one of the “most secure in history” and that 80 judges—including conservative judges appointed by President Trump himself—have rejected lawsuits brought by the President and his allies calling them “baseless” and “inadequate.”
The objection was overwhelmingly defeated in the Senate by a vote of 93-6.
Transcript of Klobuchar remarks as given from the Joint Session of Congress on January 6, 2021:
Mr. President, I first would like to say I appreciate the words of our leader, Senator Schumer, as well as Senator McConnell’s call for a higher calling. January 6th is not typically a day of historical significance for our country. For centuries, this day is simply the day we receive each state’s certified electoral votes and it has come and gone without much fanfare. In fact this is only the third time in 120 years that this senate has gathered to debate an objection and, as Senator Cruz well knows, both times these objections were resoundingly defeated. The last time the vote was 74 to 1.
Because senators have long believed that they should not mess around with the will of the people. They have understood the words of our great former colleague John McCain, from the state of Arizona, who once said that “nothing in life is more liberating than to fight for a cause larger than yourself.” In this case, my colleagues, our cause—despite our political differences—is to preserve our American democracy, to preserve our republic. Because, as someone once said long ago, “it’s a republic if you can keep it.”
Now I appreciate all my Democratic and Republican colleagues who have joined our ranks of coup fighters, who have stood up for our democracy, who stand tall for our republic, and who believe in an ideal greater than ourselves, larger than our political parties. That ideal is America.
And Senator Cruz, he knows this. On January 20th, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be sworn in as the President and Vice President of the United States.
He knows that President-Elect Biden won more votes than any president in history and more than 7 million more votes than President Trump.
Despite the unfounded conspiracy theories Senator Cruz touts, he knows that high ranking officials in President Trump’s own Homeland Security Department have concluded that the 2020 election was “the most secure in American history.”
And if he wants to improve the numbers in his own party that he just mentioned of people believing in our elections, maybe he should start consulting with them, or maybe he should start consulting with former Attorney General Barr, who said that he has found no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election.
We don’t have to go back to 1877, my colleague.
Senator Cruz knows that 80 judges—including conservative judges, including judges confirmed in this chamber, nominated by President Trump, have thrown out these lawsuits, calling them “baseless,” “inadequate,” and “contrary both to the plain meaning of the Constitutional text and common sense.”
And he knows that all ten living defense secretaries, including both of Trump’s defense secretaries, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, William Cohen, he knows that all these leaders have come together to say that these scurrilous attacks on our democracy must stop and we must allow for the peaceful transition of power.
Senator Sinema will fill you in on the specific facts as to why this election was sound and true in Arizona, but a summary:
1. President Trump received 1,661,686 votes in the state.
President-Elect Biden won 1,672,143 votes, meaning that he won the state by 10,457 votes.
2. On November 30th, after Arizona’s Republican Governor, the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, and the conservative Chief Justice of the Arizona Supreme Court certified the results of the election, the Governor actually said, “We do elections well here in Arizona. The system is strong.”
3. Eight post-election lawsuits brought in Arizona to challenge the results were dismissed by judges.
4. Nine members of the House from Arizona were elected in the same election, including four Republicans. And colleagues, I did not see Senator Cruz over at their swearing in in the House of Representatives last Sunday asking for an audit. He did not stop their swearing in because there was no fraud. And he did not ask for an audit because we had a fair election.
I will end with this: My friend Roy Blunt, my fellow Rules Committee leader, many years ago found a statue, a bust of a man at the top of a bookcase. He did research, he went to the historians, and all he could find out was that no one knew who this guy was, except that he was a cleric, hence the statue is called the “unknown cleric.” Now at the time, our leaders thought this man important enough that they would warrant a statue for him, but today no one knows who he is. Senator Blunt’s message to school kids and senators alike that visit his office when he shows them the statue, “What we do here is more important than who we are.”
Senators, what matters is not our futures, not our own short-term destinies, what matters is our democracy’s destiny. Because I think many of us know that people will not know who we are 100 years from now, or 200 years from now. But what they will know is this: they will know what we did today, how we voted today, and that is more important than who we are. It’s a republic if we can keep it.
Thank you Mr. President. I yield the floor.