Trump election dispute puts Republicans into contradictions
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The drive to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s victory over President Donald Trump in the battleground state of Pennsylvania is forcing Republicans to take positions that contradict with one another’s.
Republican judge after Republican judge has thrown out sweeping efforts to reverse the certification of Biden’s victory in Pennsylvania’s election.
One of the latest rejections was to a request to the U.S. Supreme Court from Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly of northeastern Pennsylvania and GOP candidate and Trump darling Sean Parnell, who lost to Pittsburgh-area U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb, a Democrat.
On Tuesday, the state’s top elected Republican, U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, reiterated his view that Biden won and that it is unseemly for Trump to pressure state lawmakers to try to undo the election.
“It’s completely unacceptable and it’s not going to work and the president should give up trying to get legislatures to overturn the results of the elections in their respective states,” Toomey told The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Toomey’s comments came a day after an aide to state House Speaker Bryan Cutler, R-Lancaster, said the president had called twice to see what might be possible for Trump to do about the state’s presidential election.
Cutler and other top Republican lawmakers have said that, legally, the state Legislature has no power to override the popular vote and select a slate of presidential electors.
On Friday, Rudy Giuliani — Trump’s personal lawyer — excoriated Republican legislatures in a message on Twitter as having “let down America” and ”completely misled the President and me.”
Soon after, Cutler and 63 other Republican lawmakers issued a statement urging members of Congress to block Pennsylvania’s electoral votes from being cast for Biden on Jan. 6.
Toomey’s office quickly said he will not object to the electoral votes being cast for Biden. Republican U.S. House members from Pennsylvania, however, did not quickly answer queries to their offices about the lawmakers’ statement.
Kelly’s lawsuit, meanwhile, aimed to undo Biden’s victory in the state by invalidating its year-old mail-in voting law and the 2.5 million ballots cast under it. Most of those ballots were cast by Democrats.
Seven other Republican U.S. House members from Pennsylvania — John Joyce, Fred Keller, Dan Meuser, Scott Perry, Guy Reschenthaler, Lloyd Smucker and Glenn Thompson — joined a brief in the U.S. Supreme Court supporting Kelly’s case and arguing that the state’s mail-in voting law is unconstitutional.
Only one Republican U.S. House member from Pennsylvania — Brian Fitzpatrick, whose suburban Philadelphia district backed Biden — did not sign it.
When the mail-in voting legislation passed last year, only one state Republican lawmaker voted against it.
And, while top Republicans lawmakers have remained quiet about the lawsuit’s attempts to undo the law, lawyers for the Legislature argued in court papers that the law is constitutional.
Meanwhile, nine state Republican lawmakers seeking to block Pennsylvania from casting its electoral votes for Biden in next Monday’s Electoral College ceremony sustained another loss in court Wednesday — by a judge elected as a Republican.
Commonwealth Court Judge Mary Hannah Leavitt tossed out their emergency filing, saying not only that it lacked merit, but that they filed it 11 days after the legal deadline to contest the presidential election.
Follow Marc Levy on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/timelywriter.