GOP seeks to avoid messy Trump fight over Electoral College  -

GOP seeks to avoid messy Trump fight over Electoral College 

 GOP seeks to avoid messy Trump fight over Electoral College 

Senate Republicans say Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBipartisan, bicameral group urges Trump to sign COVID-19 relief package Meghan McCain says Merry Christmas to all except for ‘healthy people under 65’ getting vaccine before front-line workers Republicans scramble to prevent year-end legislative disaster MORE (R-Ky.) will reach out to Sen.-elect Tommy Tuberville (Ala.) in an attempt to avoid a messy floor fight next month over finalizing the results of the Electoral College vote.

Senate Republican Whip John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneTrump’s final weeks create chaos for Congress Republicans scramble to prevent year-end legislative disaster Noem rules out Thune challenge after Trump criticizes senator MORE (S.D.) said GOP leaders will tell Tuberville that voting to suspend the tally of the Electoral College vote next month will be a futile — and politically damaging — move.

“Ultimately every senator will have to make their own decision about that but I think there will be people, yeah, reaching out him just to kind of find out” what he’s going to do, Thune said of Tuberville’s intentions about the Electoral College tally on Jan. 6.


“If nothing else, we need to kind of know the plan,” he added. “We’ll see. He’s made some public statements” about objecting to the vote.

“I’m hoping in the end that all senators will conclude that this election needs to be over with and it’s time to move on,” he said.

President TrumpDonald TrumpPowell says White House aides won’t let her help Trump Judge throws out GOP lawsuit to close Georgia ballot drop boxes after business hours Bipartisan, bicameral group urges Trump to sign COVID-19 relief package MORE is encouraging Tuberville, who beat former Sen. Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsNicolle Wallace asks Chris Christie if he’s trying to ‘clean the Trump stink off’ ahead of 2024 Barr leaves behind conflicting legacy at DOJ Warren planning April release of new book, ‘Persist’ MORE in the Alabama Republican primary with Trump’s support, to contest the electoral vote tally when Congress convenes in a joint session next month.

Trump said in a radio interview over the weekend that he spoke to Tuberville about challenging the vote count and the incoming senator appeared enthusiastic about the idea.

“He’s so excited,” Trump said, adding that Tuberville is grateful for the president’s support during the election. “He said, ‘You made me the most popular politician in the United States.’ He said, ‘I can’t believe it.’ He’s great. Great senator.”

One Republican senator said he expects McConnell to reach out to Tuberville to persuade him that forcing a Senate debate over the legitimacy of any state’s electoral votes is not a good idea.

“I’m sure the leader’s going to reach out and talk to him,” said the senior lawmaker of the expectation that McConnell will try to step in to avoid a messy floor fight over the election results.


“The question is will [Tuberville] listen because his whole election was predicated on Trump not liking Sessions,” the senator added. “From a cold-blooded standpoint … if Trump asks him, I assume he would probably do it because he would see no downside.”

Tuberville defeated Sessions, who represented Alabama in the Senate for 20 years before leaving Congress to serve as Trump’s attorney general, in the July primary thanks largely to Trump’s backing.

Trump endorsed Tuberville on Twitter in March as “a REAL LEADER who will never let MAGA/KAG, or our Country, down!”

McConnell, Thune and Senate Rules Committee Chairman Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntRelief bill being sent to Trump in Florida Trump’s final weeks create chaos for Congress GOP senator warns K checks can’t pass, urges Trump to sign COVID deal MORE (R-Mo.) have all advised GOP senators not to contest the electoral vote next month.

“I haven’t talked to him about it personally but I’d be shocked if somebody hasn’t talked to him,” said Sen. John CornynJohn CornynRelief bill’s passage sets off scramble to declare victory, assign blame Congress to pass seven-day stopgap to buy time for COVID-19 funding deal Struggling movie theaters, entertainment venues to get B in federal aid MORE (R-Texas), an adviser to the Senate GOP leadership.

“It’s basically going through the motions,” Cornyn said of objecting to the Electoral College tally when there’s no chance of reversing the results. “It’s a futile exercise.”

“I hope no senator will decide to do that,” he said before adding that there’s no way GOP leaders can be sure of what happens next month.

“Everybody up here is a free agent,” he said

Election officials in states around the country have already certified the results of the Nov. 3 presidential election and Trump’s legal team has failed to provide evidence to back up his claims of widespread voter fraud, which courts have resoundingly rejected.

Rep. Mo BrooksMorris (Mo) Jackson BrooksNoem rules out Thune challenge after Trump criticizes senator Trump attacks Thune: ‘He will be primaried in 2022’ Growing number of GOP lawmakers back Electoral College challenge MORE (R-Ala.) plans to contest Biden’s victory when the House meets on Jan. 6 to consider the Electoral College votes. A number of other House Republicans have said they will join Brooks, but he needs one senator to do so to force a debate and vote in both chambers.

If any senator signs onto an objection by a House member to reported electoral votes of Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin or any other swing state, it would suspend the joint session and force each chamber to separately debate and vote on the issue.

McConnell warned Senate Republican colleagues during a Dec. 15 conference call that objecting to counting certain states’ electoral votes on Jan. 6 would be a political mistake.

He said it would be politically damaging to Republican senators up for reelection to cast votes on such a divisive topic, according to senators who participated in the discussion.

Senators who vote to dismiss the objection face Trump’s wrath, which could dampen support from Trump loyalists in future elections.


Trump in recent days has vented his frustration with Senate Republicans for not joining his effort to contest the election.

“Mitch, 75,000 VOTES, a record for a sitting President (by a lot). Too soon to give up,” he tweeted at McConnell. “The Republican Party must finally learn to fight. People are angry!”

On Tuesday, Trump threatened Thune with a primary challenge in 2022 for urging fellow Republicans not to object to the Electoral College tally.

“Republicans in the Senate so quickly forget. Right now they would be down 8 seats without my backing them in the last Election. RINO John Thune, ‘Mitch’s boy’, should just let it play out. South Dakota doesn’t like weakness. He will be primaried in 2022, political career over!!!” Trump tweeted.

Senators who vote to support efforts to throw out the electoral votes of Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin or other states, face backlash as well.  

Sens. Kelly LoefflerKelly LoefflerOssoff, Warnock each rake in over 0 million Judge throws out GOP lawsuit to close Georgia ballot drop boxes after business hours Warnock says he’ll focus on Georgians after video of ex-wife surfaces MORE (R-Ga.) — if she wins a runoff on Jan. 5 — and Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonJuan Williams: The GOP’s betrayal of America Republicans desperate to avoid floor fight over Electoral College vote Congress barrels toward veto clash with Trump MORE (R-Wis.) are up for reelection in 2022 in states facing unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud.

Republicans also have to defend retiring Sen. Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyGovernment used Patriot Act to gather website visitor logs in 2019 Appeals court rules NSA’s bulk phone data collection illegal Dunford withdraws from consideration to chair coronavirus oversight panel MORE’s (R) seat in Pennsylvania. Toomey has dismissed Trump’s claims of voter fraud in his home state, citing a lack of evidence.


Thune said the GOP leadership wants to “encourage all of our members — new members included — that we got a lot of work ahead of us and that rehashing this takes a lot of time and energy and political capital that could best be used working on an agenda for next year.”