ICYMI: Following Violent Insurrection at U.S. Capitol, Shaheen Urges Group of Republican Lawmakers to End Meritless, Partisan Efforts Sowing Discord in America

January 07, 2021

Shaheen delivers remarks on the Senate floor last night urging group of Republican Lawmakers to end their meritless, partisan efforts to overturn the 2020 election results and certify the Electoral College. Shaheen’s full remarks can be viewed here.

(Washington, DC) – Following the violent assault on the U.S. Capitol yesterday by insurgents who were encouraged by President Trump’s inflammatory and baseless claims of voter fraud, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) delivered remarks on the Senate floor urging a group of Republican lawmakers to end their partisan actions bolstering the President’s lies in an effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election results.

The remarks came as Congress moved to certify the Electoral College votes for each of the 50 states and Washington, DC. This is historically a ceremonial and nonpartisan process that ensures the peaceful transition of power. However, a number of Senate Republicans and Republican House members chose to contest Congress’ certification, citing completely unfounded claims of voter fraud championed by President Trump. The United States Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency confirmed that the 2020 elections were the most secure in American history, and numerous recounts and audits in states reaffirm the legitimacy of the election results. The Supreme Court has repeatedly refused Donald Trump’s challenges to the election results.

As a result of the mob that assaulted the Capitol, Shaheen and the Senators were evacuated to a safe location. After the lawmakers returned to the chamber, Shaheen delivered her remarks, where she condemned the violence and riots and urged the group of Republican lawmakers contesting the legitimate election results to end their dangerous rhetoric that helped spur the violent unrest. Shaheen drew on her experiences serving as an election monitor in developing democracies that view America’s peaceful democratic process as a model to emulate, and urged Republicans to finally accept the results of the election and move on so that the legislative body can perform its duty of serving the American people. Following Shaheen’s remarks, the Senate certified Joe Biden’s presidential win, affirming that he will become the 46th President of the United States in less than two weeks’ time.

Shaheen’s remarks can be viewed here and read below:

Mr. President, on January 3rd, I, along with 31 of my colleagues, stood in this chamber and swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. It's both ironic and deeply disappointing that only three days after swearing these oaths, some of my colleagues are willfully coming close to breaking this promise.

Since 1797, each U.S. President has peacefully handed over power to the next and that will happen again on January 20th when Donald Trump, despite the protesters today, the violence today, when Donald Trump leaves the White House at noon and Joe Biden becomes President.

We've heard tonight from both Democrats and Republicans about the importance of the voters, speaking on the election and about the fact that there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud, but this is not just an issue for us here in the United States. This is an issue for nascent democracies around the world, who, as Senator Romney said, look to the United States as an example. We are the shining city on the hill. We give those struggling under oppression hope for a better future.

Now, like so many of us in this chamber, I've traveled to developing democracies around the world – to Afghanistan and Iraq, to the Western Balkans, to Africa, to the country of Georgia. I went there with my colleague, Senator Risch, in 2012. We went to Georgia to observe officially on behalf of the Senate the election between outgoing President, Mikhail Saakashvili and his United National Movement Party and the challenge by Georgian Dream, which was a newly formed party supported and funded by billionaire oligarch Bidzeina Ivanishvili.

It was a battle for Parliament, but also for control of the government. Senator Risch and I visited multiple polling places on Election Day and we agreed with the international assessment that that election was free and fair and that Georgian Dream were the winners.

But there was real concern in the country that Saakashvili was going to refuse to give up power, that that would lead to violence, it would end the nascent democratic reforms that were happening in that republic. And I remember very clearly going to his home and we sat down with him and we pointed out that the hallmark of a democracy, what he had worked so hard for in his eight years as President of Georgia, the hallmark of that was to turn over power in a peaceful election to the person that the voters chose.

Well, President Saakashvili listened to us and he did leave office peacefully. It's important that future generations recognize that America, like democracies everywhere, depends on a peaceful transition of power, on believing in what the voters say and ensuring that happens.

Unfortunately, we've heard from some Senators today who have been enabling President Trump's willful disregard of the votes of our citizenry, even as they speak out against foreign leaders who ignore their own people. They will fail and history will remember them.

I hope that future generations will view the actions of some of those folks today as little more than an unfortunate anomaly. Future opportunists may use this ill-fated effort to seek short term political gain over the long-term stability of our republic. But for the sake of our great country and America's standing in the world, I ask my colleagues today to fully endorse the results of the free and fair election and set aside this partisan attempt to subvert the will of the people.

We should be venerating the peaceful transition of power, even if our own preferred candidate didn't win.

That is, after all, who we are in the United States of America. Thank you, Mr. President.