“I think everyone needs to calm down,” he said. “I think we need to tone down the rhetoric. This is already a volatile situation. It’s like a tinderbox and throwing lit matches into it and so I think the kind of hyperbole we’re seeing, the kind of angry language.”
He said that some Democrats had accused him of “treason.”
Critics have pointed out that despite repeated, unsupported allegations of fraud by President Donald Trump, every state certified its results — some of them after full recounts — and that dozens of court decisions have upheld the validity of Biden’s victory on Nov. 3. They’ve also noted that Republicans are being selective in challenging results, alleging fraud in certain states won by Biden but not in down-ballot races won by Republicans in those very same states.
“A fundamental, defining feature of a democratic republic is the right of the people to elect their own leaders,” said Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), who has acknowledged Biden’s win in his state and nationally.
Regardless, Cruz indicated he had his doubts that the election was lawful.
“We went into this election with the country deeply divided, deeply polarized,” Cruz said on Sunday, “and we’ve seen in the last two months unprecedented allegations of voter fraud, and that’s produced a deep, deep distrust of our democratic process across the country. I think we in Congress have an obligation to do something about that. We have an obligation to protect the integrity of the democratic system.”
He also said he wished the Supreme Court, which twice declined to hear challenges to Biden’s election, had agreed to sort out the issue — and said that Trump had asked him to make his argument before the nation’s top court.
“I wish the Supreme Court had taken this case,” Cruz said. “There were two opportunities to take this case. One out of Pennsylvania, one out of Texas, and in both instances, the lawyers asked me to argue those cases, and so with regard to the Texas case, President Trump called me and said, ‘Ted, would you do the oral argument in this case if the court takes it?’ I told the president, ‘Absolutely, I’d be happy to do it.’ I wish the court had taken one or both of those cases. I think the Supreme Court would be a better forum for resolving those issues.”
Cruz said that challenging the results of the election was not an ideal thing for Congress to be doing, but that it seemed better to him than merely accepting the results.“Frankly, two pretty lousy choices,” he said.
In order for the GOP congressional challenge to succeed, the House and Senate would have to vote against certification when the Electoral College results are presented in a joint session of Congress on Wednesday with Vice President Mike Pence at the helm. Though Republicans can delay Biden’s certification by a matter of hours — a challenge to the results would lead to debate in both the House and Senate, then a vote — their effort is almost certainly doomed to fail. Democrats hold a majority in the House, and several leading Republicans in the closely divided Senate have made it clear they won’t vote to back the GOP challenge.
Some Senate Republicans — including Toomey, Mitt Romney of Utah, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska,and Ben Sasse of Nebraska — have been vocal in condemning the challenge, painting it as a threat to the rule of law. “The egregious ploy to reject electors may enhance the political ambition of some, but dangerously threatens our Democratic Republic,” Romney said in a statement.
Asa Hutchinson, the Republican governor of Arkansas, said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation”: “I think it’s a little bit of a Don Quixote jousting-at-windmills efforts. I think it is designed — certainly it will fail. Joe Biden is our president-elect and he will be confirmed in that capacity.’
One of the other Republicans pledging to reject the election results, Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, sparred with host Chuck Todd on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday over the legitimacy of the crisis that Republicans are now purporting to end.
“You got to ask yourself, when you tell people a million times that something was stolen or something was fraud and then they believe it, I think you need to look in the mirror,” Todd said to him.
“Chuck, look in your mirror,” Johnson replied.
Other Senate veterans who are planning to challenge the Biden win are Josh Hawley of Missouri, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Mike Braun of Indiana, Steve Daines of Montana, John N. Kennedy of Louisiana and James Lankford of Oklahoma. Four others are newly elected: Bill Hagerty of Tennessee, Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, Roger Marshall of Kansas and Tommy Tuberville of Alabama. Leaders of the pro-Trump challenge in the House include Reps. Mo Brooks of Alabama, Jody Hice of Georgia, Jim Jordan of Ohio and Andy Biggs of Arizona.
As it stands, Biden is expected to end up with 306 Electoral College votes, and Trump with 232.