ATLANTA — Most of Georgia’s Republican members of Congress stuck with earlier pledges in the wee hours of Thursday morning and opposed certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory over President Donald Trump.
But a key exception was GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who changed her mind on objecting to the Electoral College results after Trump supporters stormed the Capitol Wednesday afternoon in a melee that resulted in four deaths and more than a dozen injured police officers.
“The violence, lawlessness, and siege of the halls of Congress are abhorrent and stand as a direct attack on the very institution my objection was intended to protect: the sanctity of the American democratic process,” Loeffler declared on the Senate floor Wednesday night.
“Too many Americans are frustrated at what they see as an unfair system. Nevertheless, there is no excuse for the events that took place in these chambers today, and I pray America never suffers such a dark day again.”
Loeffler’s change of heart one day after she lost a bid to retain her Senate seat by a narrow margin to Democrat Raphael Warnock prompted her to withdraw an objection she had previously planned to raise on Biden’s narrow victory over Trump in Georgia. As a result, Congress did not take up an objection raised by Rep. Jody Hice, R-Greensboro.
The process requires objections from at least one House member and at least one senator to put a state’s presidential vote on the floor.
Loeffler joined Georgia’s six House Democrats and Republican Reps. Austin Scott of Tifton and Drew Ferguson of West Point in supporting the certification of Biden’s victory.
Hice was joined by Republican Reps. Rick Allen of Evans, Buddy Carter of Savannah, Andrew Clyde of Athens, Barry Loudermilk of Cassville and Marjorie Taylor Greene in opposition.
Scott had made his intentions known earlier in the week when he signed onto a letter with 11 other conservative House Republicans to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy supporting upholding the Electoral College results.
“The elections held in at least six battleground states raise profound questions, and it is a legal, constitutional, and moral imperative that they be answered,” the letter stated. “But only the states have authority to appoint electors, in accordance with state law.
“Congress has only a narrow role in the presidential election process. Its job is to count the electors submitted by the states, not to determine which electors the states should have sent.”
Newly elected Rep. Nikema Williams, D-Atlanta, said Congress did the right thing in certifying the results of the Nov. 3 presidential election.
“Congress upheld the will of America’s voters and the sanctity of the democratic process enshrined in the Constitution,” Williams said in a statement after the final vote. “As legislators of the People’s House, it is our duty to certify the appointment of electoral votes legally cast for president and vice president of the United States, not suppress them.
“Any attempt to invalidate the selection of electors or silence the voice of voters is a slap in the face of our democracy, and simply un-American.”