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Before Chaos Hit, GOP Lawmakers Denounced for 'Desperate Attempt at a Coup' by Denying Election Results

"Democracy will prevail again today," declared Indivisble and Stand Up America, "and history will not speak kindly of those who attempted to subvert it."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Mike Pence prepare to preside over Congress' certification of the 2020 Electoral College vote on January 6, 2021. (Photo: Erin Schaff/Getty Images)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Vice President Mike Pence preside over a joint session of Congress to certify the 2020 Electoral College results on January 6, 2021 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Erin Schaff/Getty Images)

Even before a violent mob of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol building Wednesday afternoon, progressive critics directed their ire at Republican lawmakers for promoting the demonstrably bogus claims of "widespread voter fraud" as they objected to congressional certification of President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College victory.

"We are staring down a quasi-fascist movement desperately grasping for power... This is a dark, disgraceful moment for American democracy."
—Public Citizen

As Congress prepared to count the electoral votes of the 50 states and District of Columbia on Wednesday, more than 100 House and at least 13 Senate Republicans stood ready to reject the legitimate results of the 2020 presidential election.

The rogue Republicans cited baseless allegations of fraud and conspiracy theories amplified by President Donald Trump, who took the stage in an early afternoon rally in Washington, D.C. that turned violent following a speech in which he implored Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the 2020 election results. 

Pence was having none of it. In a letter addressed to congressional colleagues he asserted that "it is my considered judgement that my oath to support and defend the Constitution constrains me from claiming unilateral authority to determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not."

NPR reports the list of GOP senators contesting the count includes Sens. Josh Hawley (Mo.), Ted Cruz (Texas), and Kelly Loeffler (Ga.), whose coziness with Trump almost certainly contributed to her Tuesday Senate runoff loss to Democratic challenger Rev. Raphael Warnock. In the House, prominent lawmakers planning to protest the electoral count include GOP Reps. Louie Gohmert (Texas), Jim Jordan (Ohio), Mo Brooks (Ala.), and Matt Gaetz (Fla.). 

Alarmed by the assault on democracy, progressive advocacy groups pulled no punches as they denounced what Public Citizen called an attempted coup by a "quasi-fascist movement desperately grasping for power." 

Protect the Results, a coalition of 175 advocacy groups, issued a statement Wednesday charging the would-be election usurpers with "contempt for democracy."

"This anti-democratic effort to subvert the will of the voters is a shameless display of rank partisanship," Indivisible and Stand Up America—two members of the coalition—said on behalf of the group, "but it will not change the valid results of this election nor Joe Biden's resounding victory."

"These efforts to undermine confidence in our election will be swiftly rejected by bipartisan majorities in both chambers," the statement continued. "We call on all lawmakers—Democrats, Republicans, and independents—to vigorously defend our democracy from these absurd, un-American attacks."

"Democracy will prevail again today," the groups concluded, "and history will not speak kindly of those who attempted to subvert it."

LaShawn Warren, executive vice president of government affairs at the Leadership Council on Civil and Human Rights, released a statement Wednesday lambasting the Republicans' "shameful disregard" for democratic norms.

"Some Republicans are attempting to change the outcome of the election and discount the votes of communities of color," Warren said. "In America, voters choose our leaders, our leaders do not choose their voters."

"Rather than engaging in this reckless, undemocratic behavior, lawmakers should be working to provide pandemic relief and strengthen our democracy," Warren added. "All members of Congress must reject this disgraceful attempt to undermine the will of voters."

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey and Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford, co-chairs of the Democratic Attorneys General Association (DAGA),  added their voices to the chorus of condemnation of what they called an "embarrassing and dangerous stunt."

"The claim by Sen. Josh Hawley, a former state attorney general, and others in Congress that the presidential election process allows Congress—or anyone—to overturn the results is wrong," the DAGA co-chairs asserted in a statement. "They know better—and they are choosing to further divide our nation and ignore the Constitution for perceived political gain."

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