Last night, Rep. Greg Stanton delivered a defense of Arizona’s election results from the House Floor during a Joint Session of Congress to certify the Electoral College vote. Stanton’s remarks came after a day of violent attacks on the U.S. Capitol.
Over the last few hours, we have seen the consequences of dangerous, un-American rhetoric. An armed insurrection against the seat of government of the most powerful country on earth. A breach of this Capitol building to attack Congress – something that has not taken place since the British occupied this building during the War of 1812. An attempted coup spurred by rhetoric coming from those who are looking out for themselves, not our country.
And it is stunning, Madam Speaker, that there are some in this House who have voiced support for what just happened. It was not a protest. It was treason. It was sedition. And it should be prosecuted as such.
At its root is a disease that has infected our politics, one that will make some political leaders do anything – including lie and incite violence – to hold on to power. That’s what we’re seeing before our very eyes.
In contesting the outcome of this election, my Republican colleagues make a contradictory argument that puts party and power before country. They argue the election results were valid when it showed they won their races, but the same ballots were somehow fraudulent when it produced a result that President Trump did not like. Keep the results we like, they demand, cancel the one we don’t.
That’s just not how democracy works. And neither is armed insurrection.
Here’s the truth: Arizona has a long, bipartisan record of conducting safe, secure and fair elections – and I say that as someone whose party has more often than not been on the losing end of those elections. This last election was once again safe and secure, and I commend our state and county elections officials – public servants on both sides of the aisle – for making Arizona proud once again.
We are here because the case that Republicans have brought before us has failed in court over and over and over again.
My colleagues say, “Let this go back to the state . . . let them decide.”
My friends, Arizona has spoken. They have sent the correct electors.
Arizona’s Republican Attorney General – one of the most partisan in the country – said “There is no evidence, there are no facts that would lead anyone to believe the election results will change.”
The Republican speaker of our State House has told us: He doesn’t like the results of the election, but they are the right results: Joe Biden has won Arizona.
The State Supreme Court – made up entirely of justices appointed by Republican governors – they have spoken too. The Court said the President’s challenge “fails to present any evidence of ‘misconduct,’ ‘illegal votes’ or that the Biden electors ‘did not in fact receive the highest number of votes for office.’”
Look to the words of one of the President’s own campaign chairs in my state: our governor, Doug Ducey. Our governor loves the President; he’s been so loyal. He made sure the President could hold large rallies in our state in the middle of a pandemic, and the governor personally attended them. They spoke so often the governor gave the President a special “Hail to the Chief” ringtone on his phone.
After Election Day, as the legal challenges played out, the governor kept quiet. But when the truth became clear, even he acknowledged “Joe Biden did win Arizona." I am grateful that, in this instance, the governor put the law – not partisan politics – first. And I urge my colleagues in this House to follow his lead.
Each and every one of us in this House – the People’s House – swore an oath to preserve, protect and defend our Constitution against all enemies – foreign and domestic. Over the last few hours, we have gained a better understanding of what that means.
The future of Constitution – the most precious of the founding documents of the greatest democracy humankind has ever known – is in our hands.
Defending democracy is not – and should not be – a partisan task. It is a sacred one. Right here, right now, we must recognize that fidelity to the founding principles of our nation are not about loyalty to one man, but rather to ensure “that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.”
The world is watching all of us right now.
We must – we must – get it right. Reject this ill-conceived attack on our democracy.
I yield back.