The Slatest

GOP Sen. Sasse Blasts “Ambitious” Republicans “Playing With Fire” in Challenging 2020 Result

Senator Ben Sasse (R-Neb) speaks during the Senate Judiciary Committee on the fourth day of hearings on Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, on October 15, 2020, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
Senator Ben Sasse (R-Neb) speaks during the Senate Judiciary Committee on the fourth day of hearings on Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, on October 15, 2020, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. KEVIN DIETSCH/Getty Images

Sen. Ben Sasse apparently had a lot to say. In a 2,200-word Facebook post, the senator from Nebraska made clear he “will not be participating” in an effort by some of his fellow Republican lawmakers to overturn the election, characterizing it as a “dangerous ploy” that is being carried out for political gain. “Let’s be clear what is happening here: We have a bunch of ambitious politicians who think there’s a quick way to tap into the president’s populist base without doing any real, long-term damage,” Sasse wrote shortly after Sen. Josh Hawley said he would challenge President-elect Joe Biden’s victory when Congress meets to certify Electoral College votes next week. Hawley is seen as a potential presidential candidate in 2024. “But they’re wrong—and this issue is bigger than anyone’s personal ambitions. Adults don’t point a loaded gun at the heart of legitimate self-government,” Sasse added.

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In his post, Sasse made clear there is no evidence to support the contention that the result of the election would have been different if not for widespread voter fraud. “For President-Elect Biden’s 306-232 Electoral College victory to be overturned, President Trump would need to flip multiple states. But not a single state is in legal doubt,” Sasse wrote. The claims that the election was stolen really amount to “a fundraising strategy” rather than a legal one.

“All the clever arguments and rhetorical gymnastics in the world won’t change the fact that this January 6th effort is designed to disenfranchise millions of Americans simply because they voted for someone in a different party,” Sasse wrote. The president and those in Congress who are trying to aid his efforts to overturn the result “are playing with fire,” Sasse added, characterizing his colleagues who will pursue the initiative as “institutional arsonist members of Congress.” Ultimately, Sasse said, “We have good reason to think this year’s election was fair, secure, and law-abiding.”

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The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board also decried Trump’s efforts to overturn the election, saying that “Republicans should be embarrassed by Mr. Trump’s Electoral College hustle.” Even though Trump has been furiously tweeting about fraud, his lawsuits have been rejected. The effort to challenge Biden’s electors “appears doomed” and would only give Democrats in the House of Representatives an “opportunity to excoriate Mr. Trump a final time on his way out the door.” Trump’s allies are now pressuring Vice President Mike Pence to toss out electors, which is “putting his loyal VP in a terrible spot.”

In the end it seems some Republicans at least aren’t thinking of the consequences of their actions. “What do Republicans think would happen if Mr. Pence pulled the trigger, Mr. Biden was denied 270 electoral votes, and the House chose Mr. Trump as President? Riots in the streets would be the least of it,” notes the Journal’s editorial board. “The scramble to overturn the will of the voters tarnishes Mr. Trump’s legacy and undermines any designs he has on running in 2024.”

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