WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) on Friday took to the U.S. Senate Floor to blast Republicans’ continued efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results and warn of the dangerous consequences for our democracy.
“You cannot, at the same time, love America and hate democracy. But as we speak, a whole lot of flag-waving Republicans are nakedly trying to invalidate millions of legal votes because that is the only way that they can make Donald Trump president again. It is the only way they can make Donald Trump president again because he didn't win. Our democracy, the citizens of this country, chose Joe Biden to be President of the United States. He won the popular vote in a landslide and he won the electoral college by a substantial margin,” said Murphy.
Murphy continued: “…[T]here are way too many high profile Republicans who march around the world giving speeches about the importance of protecting democracy who are awfully silent when the attempted overthrow is happening in their own country. Nobody can stay silent right now.”
“It is true this effort to overthrow the 2020 election is not going to bear fruit. And so it is tempting to just work on the other things and to ignore this lawsuit and these attempts because this time it won't be successful. But all of this effort, supported by so many mainstream Republicans, it's setting a precedent, and it's creating conditions that could easily overthrow the next election. And if the Republican Party just allows for this assault on the 2020 election to continue, no matter whether it ultimately is successful, then by 2022 or 2024, I'm telling you, it might be too late to save our democracy,” Murphy concluded.
This week, ahead of the upcoming Electoral College meeting, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit to overturn the 2020 presidential election results. Attorneys General in 17 other states and 106 Republican members of Congress support this dangerous lawsuit.
A full transcript of Murphy’s remarks can be found below:
“Colleagues, we're in the middle of a whole bunch of really important debates right now about the National Defense Authorization Act, trying to avoid a shutdown by the end of the day, and, of course, trying to find a path forward to authorize funding to continue to combat this pandemic. But it is worth noting today that an effort to overturn the 2020 election continues and, in many ways, is picking up steam. And we need to talk about the consequences for the nation.
“Democracies are really fragile things. Ours only continues because we make choices so that it can remain. Our government really isn't the piece of paper upon which the Constitution is written, our government, where voters, citizens, not kings, or monarchs or oligarchs decide who governs, it's made possible by a series of decisions that we make every single day to put the rule of law ahead of our own political power, or the position of our political party.
“That is the history of America. Our decision, the democracy, comes first. Not the perpetuation of our own political power. Right now, the most serious attempt to overthrow our democracy in the history of this country is underway. Those who are pushing to make Donald Trump president for a second term, no matter the outcome of the election, are engaged in a treachery against their nation.
“You cannot, at the same time, love America and hate democracy. But as we speak, a whole lot of flag-waving Republicans are nakedly trying to invalidate millions of legal votes because that is the only way that they can make Donald Trump president again. It is the only way they can make Donald Trump president again because he didn't win. Our democracy, the citizens of this country, chose Joe Biden to be President of the United States. He won the popular vote in a landslide and he won the electoral college by a substantial margin.
“But now, Republicans have decided, not all Republicans, but far too many, have decided that if democracy can't keep Trump in power, then democracy ceases to have any real purpose. Because to Republicans who are supporting these continued efforts to invalidate the election, their loyalty is to Donald Trump. Not to the nation or our system of government, their number one goal is to keep Trump in power. And if that means throwing out the election, turning America into something other than a democracy in which the voters get to choose their leaders, then so be it.
“Here's the latest. This lawsuit is supported by 106 House Republicans. That's more than half of the Republicans who serve in the House of Representatives. It is supported, apparently, by many Senate Republicans as well. This lawsuit is an attempt to overthrow democracy. And you can laugh at it, you can scoff at it, you can suggest that it has no chance to prevail if it reaches the nine supreme court justices, but let's be clear about what it argues. And let's be clear about the consequences for so many elected officials at the highest level of American government supporting this lawsuit.
“What it argues is that the votes in four states, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Wisconsin and Michigan should be thrown out because Trump didn't win. And it asks for the state legislatures controlled by Republicans to appoint electors instead. Now there are a bunch of vague, unsourced claims about voter fraud in this lawsuit, but there's not a shred of evidence for these claims. And all of the individual lawsuits trying to allege voter fraud, trying to create contests about how laws were modified regarding voting in these states have all lost.
“Importantly, the lawsuit doesn't ask for another canvas or another count. It just asks for the votes in these states to be disregarded. And for Republican politicians in these states to make the choice instead. Now already in Pennsylvania, the state's legislature’s Republican leadership has expressed support for appointing electors that would choose Donald Trump. Let me say that again. This lawsuit says that in Pennsylvania, the state legislature should choose the electors, not the people. And in Pennsylvania, the leadership of the Republican Party in the legislature has expressed support for appointing electors that will choose Donald Trump instead of Joe Biden despite the fact that Joe Biden won the state of Pennsylvania by 80,000 votes. 80,000 votes. This isn't 500 votes like Florida in 2000. 80,000 votes.
“The request of this lawsuit is clear. Throw out the votes in these four states that Joe Biden won and just give the election to Donald Trump instead. Now some of my Republican Senate colleagues, they send out pretty mealy mouthed statements supporting the general right to count every legal vote and to contest illegal votes. But that's not what this lawsuit is about. It just asked for the whole vote to be thrown out. It asks for every vote in these states to be disregarded.
“Other Republicans who haven't signed on to this suit suggest that it won't succeed in the Supreme Court, it's a sideshow, so why really care? Well, we have to care. The majority of Republican members of Congress believe that Donald Trump should be named president again despite the fact that he lost, and lost by a lot. It wasn't close in the popular vote or the Electoral College. We should care because this attempt to overthrow democracy, it won't be successful this time, Joe Biden is going to be president, but it plainly shows us the direction that the Republican Party is heading. And they control governments in a lot of really important states and jurisdictions.
“The majority of Republicans in the House of Representatives apparently believe that if a Democrat wins an election, it's illegitimate by definition. There is no evidence of fraud or stolen votes or vote rigging in the 2020 election. You can be mad about the fact that states allow for mail-in voting, but Republican and Democratic states allow for it. You can be angry that the majority of those votes this year were cast in favor of Joe Biden in many of these states, but in previous years, the majority of mail and votes have been favoring Republicans.
“But no matter the lack of evidence about voter fraud, Republicans, including the President, have just come to the conclusion that Democrats must have cheated because Democrats are evil, and lots of people show up to Trump rallies and there's just no way that all those people could have voted for Joe Biden because Fox News and Newsmax and RT, they tell us that Trump is just so popular.
“Now this mindset won't win out this time. Joe Biden's going to be president. But what about next time? What if the next presidential election is closer? What if 2024 comes down to just one state? It's a lot easier to steal one state. What if these radical anti-Democrats get control of more secretary of state offices or election boards and there's a close race for governor in 2022, or the US Senate, and these same people who support the Texas lawsuit decide again, that there's no way a Democrat could have won our state and so, by definition, it's got to be fraudulent despite the lack of evidence. So let's just throw out the result and choose a Republican.
“I know that this kind of sounds far-fetched, but this is exactly what this lawsuit is asking for. It is asking for the vote to be thrown out in four states, Donald Trump to be named president, regardless of the fact that he lost, with no evidence of any voter fraud or illegal behavior. And there's the majority of the US House of Representatives Republican caucus who supports this. So it stands to reason that this one all of a sudden stopped being their position two years ago, and four years ago.
“If this happens and the voters' will is thrown out, not just in a presidential election, but in a governor's race or a US Senate race or a congressional race, then our country is no longer a democracy. If that happens, the American experiment is done. It's over. And that's why this moment is so frightening, no matter the fact that it's not going to be successful in an attempt to keep Donald Trump barricaded in the White House. That's why more Republicans than just a handful in this country need to be standing up to this lawsuit and this claim that the votes should be thrown out.
“Because you have a majority of Republicans in this country who believe that Joe Biden won the election fraudulently when there's no evidence that that happened. And that belief as it festers and it grows, this idea that if Democrats win, it has to be because of fraud, it does eventually lead to the voters’ will being overturned. And that is the end of American democracy. Don't just assume that this system is going to be around for another 240 years. This is a miracle that we have held this together thus far. It is just a series of choices that we make.
“The Constitution itself is not strong enough, is not durable enough, without all of us making a decision that even if we lose an election, even if that means that temporarily our political power is lessened, that we accept the result. Because what matters most in this country is what the voters choose, not how it affects us. It's not enough to just punt here and say ‘the president's got a right to go to court, let's just see what happens.’ Because when the overthrow of Democracy is beginning and you're sitting on the sidelines, you're a collaborator.
“And there are way too many high profile Republicans who march around the world giving speeches about the importance of protecting democracy who are awfully silent when the attempted overthrow is happening in their own country. Nobody can stay silent right now.
“There are a lot of other important things happening in the Senate today. I'm engaged in those as well. It is true this effort to overthrow the 2020 election is not going to bear fruit. And so it is tempting to just work on the other things and to ignore this lawsuit and these attempts because this time it won't be successful.
“But all of this effort, supported by so many mainstream Republicans, it's setting a precedent, and it's creating conditions that could easily overthrow the next election. And if the Republican Party just allows for this assault on the 2020 election to continue, no matter whether it ultimately is successful, then by 2022 or 2024, I'm telling you, it might be too late to save our democracy.”