Short and direct remarks from a Senator who was once unfairly maligned and attacked by the political Left, and has more recently become reviled among many on the Right. Over the years, I have agreed and disagreed with Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), including divergences of opinion on major policy issues (Romneycare) and prudential judgments (impeachment). But I believe he is a good man and a statesman who does what he thinks is right, particularly since liberating himself of the cold calculation with which he was associated -- sometimes with ample reason -- earlier in his political career.
Many Democrats now applaud him as a "good" Republican because he's sided with them on some recent questions, airbrushing away the nastiness with which they assailed and even slandered him a little over eight years ago. And many Republicans now recoil at the mention of his name because he has committed the tribalistic cardinal sin of directly and repeatedly criticizing the president. The speech he delivered on the floor last night certainly appealed to some of Romney's erstwhile detractors, and likely angered many of those who once voted for him. Regardless, it's worth listening to and considering, and it generated bipartisan applause among his colleagues:
These comments were nearly identical to a statement the Utah Senator released earlier Wednesday evening, following the outrageous mob violence at the US Capitol, which delayed the constitutional process of counting the electoral votes from the 2020 presidential election. An excerpt:
The objectors have claimed they are doing so on behalf of the voters. Have an audit, they say, to satisfy the many people who believe that the election was stolen. Please! No Congressional led audit will ever convince those voters, particularly when the President will continue to claim that the election was stolen. The best way we can show respect for the voters who are upset is by telling them the truth. That is the burden, and the duty, of leadership. The truth is that President-elect Biden won this election. President Trump lost. Scores of courts, the President’s own Attorney General, and state election officials both Republican and Democrat have reached this unequivocal decision.
He is correct. Conservative former federal prosecutor and Trump supporter Andy McCarthy further underscored why here. Another floor speech worth watching for its entertainment value and substantive content was Sen. Lindsey Graham's (R-SC):
"Trump and I, we've had a hell of a journey. I hate it to end this way. Oh my God, I hate it. From my point of view he's been been a consequential president. But today, first thing you'll see. All I can say, is count me out, enough is enough."
For more specific details and arguments, listen to Sen. Pat Toomey's (R-PA) thorough take-down of some core arguments made by objectors about his state -- and for a simple Constitutional deconstruction of Congress' role in all of this, listen to Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT). For the opposite perspective on the Republican side of the aisle, here's Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) explaining his objection. He was one of the six Senators who objected, compared to 93 who rejected the objection:
UPDATE - I'll also note that the Senate didn't even debate the alleged merits of the case for fraud in Pennsylvania, about which Hawley and others insist there are important questions that must be asked. They marched over to their chamber late at night, as required by law, but there were no more speeches. Then they voted. The objectors didn't speak on behalf of their objections, let alone with any compelling specificity (there was a debate in the House, which nearly descended into a physical brawl). I suspect this is, in part, why Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) has accused some of his colleagues -- and the president -- of deliberately misleading people:
So the Senate “debated” the PA objections with...no debate? Including/especially nothing from the Senator who lodged the objection, nor the handful of Senators who voted to uphold it? I thought this was about “examining” the “evidence” to address “questions.”— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) January 7, 2021