Sen. Mitt Romney on Wednesday applauded four Republican senators who dropped plans to object to President-elect Joe Biden’s victory after a mob of President Trump’s supporters stormed the US Capitol to interrupt proceedings.
Romney (R-Utah) warned senators who are still considering objections to the Electoral College results that they will be linked by the “insurrection” that saw Capitol windows smashed, cops doused with fire extinguishers and offices vandalized.
The violent break-in resulted in at least one death and an unknown number of injuries and was put down by hundreds of regional and federal law enforcement officers.
Romney spoke after Sens. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and James Lankford (R-Okla.) abandoned plans to make objections to Biden electors.
“I have 25 grandchildren, many of them were watching TV thinking about this building, whether their grandpa was OK,” Romney said.
The senator and frequent Trump antagonist was the unsuccessful 2012 Republican presidential nominee and directly blamed the president for the mob’s attack, noting that he had addressed throngs of supporters before they proceeded to break into the Capitol.
“We gather due to a selfish man’s injured pride and the outrage of supporters who we had deliberately misinformed for the past two months and stirred to action this very morning,” Romney said.
“What happened here today was an insurrection incited by the president of the United States. Those who choose to continue to support his dangerous gambit by objecting to the results of a legitimate democratic election will forever be seen as being complicit in an unprecedented attack against our democracy.”
He added: “Fairly or not, there’ll be remembered for their role in this shameful episode in American history.”
“I salute Senator Lankford and Loeffler and Braun and Danes and I’m sure others, who in the light of today’s outrage have withdrawn their objection,” Romney said.
“For any who remain insisting on an audit in order to satisfy the many people who believe that the election was stolen, I’d offer this perspective: No congressional audit is ever going to convince these voters, particularly when the president will continue to say that the election was stolen.
Romney, the sole Republican who voted to remove Trump from office last year, said that “the best way we can show respect for the voters who were upset is by telling the truth.”
“The truth is that President-elect Biden won the election. President Trump lost. I’ve had that experience myself. It’s no fun,” Romney said.
“Scores of courts, the president’s own attorney general, state election officials both Republican and Democrat have reached that unequivocal decision.”
A small number of Republican senators may still force debate on state electors. The senators returned to resume a debate triggered by Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas about Arizona electors. Cruz said courts illegally extended a voter registration deadline.
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) planned to object to Pennsylvania’s electors citing the state supreme court ruling allowing mail-in ballots to arrive after Election Day, though his plans were cast into doubt by the pro-Trump rampage.
Romney said that “in light of today’s sad circumstances, I ask my colleague, do we wear old political fortunes more heavily than we weigh the strength of our republic, the strength of our democracy and the cause of freedom? What’s the weight of personal acclaim compared to the weight of conscience?”
Republicans who had backed objections before the chaos included Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.) and Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.)