McConnell Rebukes Trump, Says Overturning Election ‘Would Damage Our Republic Forever’

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) adjusts his face mask as he participates in a swearing-in for the 117th Congress in Washington, D.C., January 3, 2021. (Kevin Dietsch/Reuters)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell rebuked President Trump during Wednesday’s joint session of Congress, saying that Congress overturning the election results at Trump’s urging would cause irreparable damage to the country.

“The voters, the courts, and the states have all spoken. If we overrule them, it would damage our Republic forever,” McConnell said from the Senate floor.

McConnell said the allegations range from “specific local allegations to constitutional arguments, to sweeping conspiracy theories,” adding that he supported the president’s right to use the legal system to challenge the election results.

“Over and over the courts rejected these claims, including all-star judges whom the president himself has nominated,” the Kentucky Republican said.

“We cannot simply declare ourselves a national board of elections on steroids,” McConnell said. “We’ll either hasten down a poisonous path where only the winners of an election actually accept the results or show we can still muster the patriotic courage that our forebears showed, not only in victory, but in defeat.”

Congress held a joint session on Wednesday to formally count the electoral votes from every state. McConnell’s remarks began debate on the Senate floor after some Republicans raised an objection to the election results in Arizona, where Joe Biden won by a small margin.

Republicans were expected to challenge the election results of several other states, but the joint session was interrupted suddenly when pro-Trump demonstrators breached security and stormed the Capitol, forcing lawmakers to have to evacuate the building.

“If this election were overturned by mere allegations from the losing side, our democracy would enter a death spiral. We’d never see the whole nation accept an election again,” McConnell said.

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