Sen. Thom Tillis said Wednesday he’d vote to certify Joe Biden’s election in the joint session of Congress.
Why it matters: The Republican from the northern Charlotte suburbs had a big choice to make in the first days of his second term: join President Trump and a few senators in rejecting the electoral college results, or vote with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and others in upholding the legitimacy of the election.
State of play: Tillis released his 323-word statement — in which he said, “The American people should have full faith in our election system” — just after noon on Wednesday. A little more than an hour later, the Capitol building was locked down as rioters broke windows and climbed in.
Context: Tillis knows better than most the weight of a decision to diverge from Trump. In 2019, Tillis briefly opposed Trump’s efforts to declare a national emergency to build a border wall. And even though he ultimately supported it, he took a big hit in the polls during the early parts of his 2020 campaign.
“Although I certainly wish the results were different, Congress cannot change them without inflicting irreparable damage to our Constitutional Republic. I will not oppose the certification of the Electoral College votes, and I will not embolden politicians in the future to appoint our presidents instead of having the American people duly elect them.”
“The American people should have full faith in our election system, which is why I led the passage of voter ID legislation in North Carolina and why I supported President Trump’s right to call for recounts and bring challenges to the courts. I share the concerns of many Americans regarding the lack of security of widespread mail-in voting and the partisan actions of activist Democratic lawyers who succeeded in making questionable changes to the voting process while Americans were already casting their ballots. Even if it wasn’t enough to change the outcome of the election, irregularities and fraud are never acceptable and they should be investigated and prosecuted when appropriate.
“The Framers of our Constitution made it clear that the power to certify elections is reserved to the states, not Congress. Refusing to certify state election results has no viable path to success, and most importantly, it lends legitimacy to the Left’s stated policy objectives of completely federalizing elections and eliminating the Electoral College. Congress should not overstep its Constitutional authority by overturning the results of states and the will of American voters, especially absent legitimate requests from states for Congress to intervene.
“It is a precedent we should not set. Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer should not have the power to set aside electors after the 2024 election and overrule federal courts and the Constitution as they see fit.
“I was proud to support President Trump’s agenda and campaign with him, and I am deeply disappointed he was not re-elected despite his success in creating jobs, cutting taxes, securing a conservative judiciary, reforming the VA, and rebuilding our military. Although I certainly wish the results were different, Congress cannot change them without inflicting irreparable damage to our Constitutional Republic. I will not oppose the certification of the Electoral College votes, and I will not embolden politicians in the future to appoint our presidents instead of having the American people duly elect them.”