U.S. Rep. John Carter, R-Round Rock, on Thursday defended his decision to press on with his planned challenge against certifying the electoral votes of two states even after a mob of supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol building.
Carter was among 121 House Republicans who voted to object to the certification of Arizona’s results, according to U.S. House Clerk records. He later joined 138 members of his party to object to Pennsylvania’s votes. Those numbers represented a majority of House Republicans — who effectively voted to disenfranchise the voters of Arizona and Pennsylvania, where, combined, more than 20 million people live.
The objections were overwhelmingly rejected by both chambers of Congress in bipartisan votes — an outcome that was expected since Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, a Republican, announced he would challenge the certification.
“Objecting to the Electoral College certification was never about overturning an election, it was an opportunity to respectfully debate and air the grievances of millions of Americans as outlined by the United States Constitution,” Carter said in a letter to Texans.
Despite Carter’s view on the electoral vote challenge, Trump repeatedly pressed lawmakers to overturn the results of the Nov. 3 election during Wednesday’s certification of the Electoral College — a typically ceremonial procedure.
Carter joined the GOP’s challenge to the Electoral College certification after opposing Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s lawsuit against four battleground states that claimed officials made unconstitutional changes to voting procedures.
Despite President-elect Joe Biden clinching victory on Nov. 7, Carter has not acknowledged it. He did not respond to requests to comment from The Texas Tribune and The Washington Post to do so.
However, the Round Rock Republican said on Nov. 6 he would respect the outcome of the election.
“While I believe much of this will be determined within the courts, I have faith that the law will be followed and the American people’s voice will prevail,” Carter, a former state district judge, said at the time.
The president and his allies filed 62 lawsuits in state and federal courts to overturn the election results — 61 have failed, according to USA Today. Judges appointed by Democrats and Republicans decided the cases.
U.S. Rep. Roger Williams — an Austin Republican who represents a small slice of Bell County in Killeen — also voted to challenge the electoral votes from Arizona and Pennsylvania.
Williams was among the 106 House Republicans who backed Paxton’s lawsuit. Prior to his votes, he did not say whether he would object to the certifications, The Dallas Morning News reported.
Unlike Carter, Williams recognized that Biden will be president beginning at noon Jan. 20.
“Democracy prevails. There will be a peaceful transition of power on January 20, 2021,” Williams said in a tweet Thursday, a day after a siege on the Capitol building resulted in four people dying and more than a dozen police officers were injured. “I will work with President-elect Biden and VP-elect (Kamala) Harris to do what is best for our great country and Texas’ 25th District.”
Both congressmen Wednesday condemned the violence at Capitol building. They said peaceful protests are a right given to Americans in the U.S. Constitution, but it does not give them a pass to act violently.
“I am disgusted by the actions of those who came to our nation’s capital with violent intentions,” Williams said. “This behavior is an extraordinary stain on our democracy.”