Trump will speak on behalf of incumbent Republican Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue at a rally in Dalton, Georgia, on Monday night.
The Republican Electoral College challenge — once dismissed by the media as a fringe effort to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election — has grown into a significant movement that will result in a “badly divided” GOP, Fox News media analyst Howard Kurtz told “The Daily Briefing” Monday.
“The media initially portrayed this as a few fringe characters, a few [Rep.] Louie Gohmert [R-Texas] types, “the “Media Buzz” host said, “but when [Senators] Josh Hawley [R-Mo.] and Ted Cruz [R-Texas] signed on, backed with 10 other senators, and more than a hundred Republican House members, it became clear this was a severe miscalculation by the press, and I include myself in that.”
Kurtz’s comments come as Republicans in Congress stake out their positions ahead of Wednesday’s joint session to certify the Electoral College results.The showdown in the Capitol, which could bleed into Thursday or beyond depending on how long Trump allies in Congress try to drag it out, will set up the ultimate loyalty test to the president for Republicans: Do they back Trump’s unsubstantiated claims to the bitter end or do they break with the president, potentially leading to a Trump-backed primary challenge?
A group of Republican senators led by Cruz, said over the weekend that they would vote to reject electors from states that are disputed unless Congress sets an “emergency 10-day audit” of the election results.
Cruz and his group followed Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., widely thought of as a 2024 GOP presidential hopeful, who was the first senator to announce that he would join House members in objecting to electoral slates on Wednesday.
With both of them leading the charge, other Republican lawmakers are feeling pressured to join the “movement,” Kurtz said, adding that it has already “badly divided the Republican Party.” Video
The issue has spurred strife among Republicans like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who was reported to have discouraged Electoral College challenges among his caucus.
Kurtz acknowledged that “nobody involved in this effort that we will see on the Hill thinks that it will stop Joe Biden from being sworn in on January 20th.
“But,” he explained, “given the deep distrust of the media in this country and the fact that President Trump retains an iron grip on much of the Republican Party, we are gonna see a substantial chunk of the country that continues to think the election was stolen, and that’s a problem for American democracy.”
Challenges to any states’ slates of electoral votes are almost certain to fail. Democrats, who hold a majority in the House, are expected to vote against rejecting electors.
The effort sends a message among lawmakers who are “establishing themselves for the next four years that they’re not going to accept the results of the Electoral College, ” Kurtz said, “even though numerous lawsuits and the Trump Justice Department … says [there is] no evidence of substantial or widespread fraud.”