Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah and other Republican senators said on Saturday that they will oppose an effort by their colleagues to challenge the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Earlier in the day, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas announced he will object to the certification of Electoral College votes, and a number of GOP senators are expected to join him.
“The egregious ploy to reject electors may enhance the political ambition of some, but dangerously threatens our Democratic Republic,” Romney said in a statement.
President-elect Joe Biden won the election by receiving 306 electoral votes compared to President Donald Trump’s 232. The results have been certified in every state, and presidential electors cast their votes last month.
The electors’ votes are set to be certified Wednesday during a joint session of Congress that is usually procedural, confirming the winner that voters and the Electoral College have already chosen.
Cruz’s effort to object could delay the certification of the results, but it will not change the election results in any US state.
Romney harshly rejected the effort, emphasizing the will of the voters.
“Were Congress to actually reject state electors, partisans would inevitably demand the same any time their candidate had lost,” Romney said. “Congress, not voters in the respective states, would choose our presidents.”
Republicans planning to object are reportedly requesting a 10-day emergency audit of the election results in some states, though Romney also noted that the Trump campaign lost all of its election lawsuits and that the Justice Department found no evidence of widespread voter fraud that would change the outcome.
He also criticized Trump directly for calling on his supporters to rally in DC the day the vote would be certified, saying it could lead to “disruption, and worse.”
“I could never have imagined seeing these things in the greatest democracy in the world,” Romney said. “Has ambition so eclipsed principle?”
Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska also said they would oppose the effort.
He said the attempt by Cruz and others to overturn the election results “directly undermines this right.”
Toomey said the senators are justifying their objection by citing allegations of fraud, but that “allegations of fraud by a losing campaign cannot justify overturning an election.” He also said judges across the US have determined the allegations of fraud were not supported by evidence.
He said he voted for Trump, but that he plans “to vigorously defend our form of government by opposing this effort to disenfranchise millions of voters in my state and others.”
Murkowski also said in a statement Saturday that she will vote to affirm the Electoral College results and urged senators of both parties to do the same.
“The courts and state legislatures have all honored their duty to hear legal allegations and have found nothing to warrant overturning the results,” she said.
Republicans who reportedly plan to object to the certification of the results include Cruz, Sens. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, James Lankford of Oklahoma, Steve Daines of Montana, John Kennedy of Louisiana, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Mike Braun of Indiana, and Sens.-elect Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, Roger Marshall of Kansas, Bill Hagerty of Tennessee, and Tommy Tuberville of Alabama.
Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri also said on Wednesday that he intends to object.