Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) are usually some of President Trump's staunchest allies in the Senate. But when it comes to Republicans' plans to oppose President-elect Joe Biden's win on Wednesday, they're taking another road.
Cotton, whom one analyst called the likely "heir to Trumpism" after pressing for a militaristic response to racial justice protests over the summer, issued a statement Monday affirming he won't reject the confirmation of Biden's Electoral College win. While Cotton had some "concerns" about alleged "irregularities in the presidential election," he said the correct way to solve those problems is through an investigatory commission and congressional hearings. "The founders entrusted our elections chiefly to the states — not Congress," Cotton continued. An attempt to overthrow the Electoral College's decision would "exceed that power" and "establish unwise precedents," including some he claimed Democrats could abuse, Cotton finished.
In response, Trump tweeted a threat against the political future of the potential 2024 candidate.
Lee, who helped orchestrate Trump's impeachment defense, meanwhile signaled he'd oppose the attempt to disqualify the election results on Monday as well. He had been considering signing onto a joint statement with Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas), who has objected to the seating of Republican congressmembers who claim the election was fraudulent, a draft of the statement obtained by Politico revealed. Lee's communications director later tweeted that the senator would be sending out a statement of his own Tuesday or Wednesday.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is leading a coalition of 11 Republican senators who will join with some House Republicans and reject the affirmation of Biden's win — a usually uncontroversial process. Several other moderate Republicans have opposed the coalition. And while Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) reportedly tried to ensure no senators joined House Republicans' effort to oppose the election results, he clearly failed.