Following violent riots in Washington, D.C., Rep. Michael Waltz said he will no longer object to any slates of electors. Instead, he will press for a peaceful transfer of power.
He had been one of Florida’s most ardent defenders of President Donald Trump’s attempts to overturn slates of electors for swing states Joe Biden won.
“Earlier today I planned to object to some of the electors of states because I truly believed there were constitutional issues regarding states and courts changing election laws shortly before Election Day,” he said. “Objecting was supposed to serve as a forum to peacefully debate among my colleagues and raise these serious issues that deserve scrutiny.
“However, with today’s despicable display of violence and intimidation on Capitol Hill we must move on to ensure a peaceful transfer of power and certify the presidential election.”
Pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol Complex today shortly after the Senate and House left a joint session to separately consider challenges to Arizona’s slate of electors.
Waltz previously signed onto an amicus brief for a Texas lawsuit asking the Supreme Court to throw out four states’ slates of electors; the Supreme Court rejected that suit. He also made clear this week he would object to certifying the election in Congress.
After the Orlando Sentinel apologized for its endorsement of Waltz, Waltz complained of ‘cancel culture’ and said media ignored the constitutional arguments about states changing election procedures in the midst of a pandemic. He has maintained allowing a legal process to settle election disputes showed how American democracy worked, unlike other nations where violence breaks out in the streets over election results.
But when violence broke out in the street, Waltz reassessed.
“We settle our political disputes through debate and the law, not violent chaos,” he said. “I’ve dedicated my life to serving our country in uniform. I’ve fought to help others achieve the much-desired peace and democracy we have long been accustomed to in America.
“The world is watching and we cannot allow our institutions to tear apart over procedural debates.”
While still noting Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi objected to election results in 2005 with little similar outrage, Waltz said he could not ignore the events of the day. He did say he still hopes efforts are made to restore Americans’ faith in the electoral process.
Multiple Republican senators have also reversed course and now say they won’t object to the congressional certification of the President-elect’s victory. Sens. Steve Daines of Montana, Mike Braun of Indiana and Kelly Loeffler of Georgia all said in light of the violence they would stand down from planned objections to Biden’s win.
Lawmakers gathered to certify the Electoral College votes from each state were forced to evacuate after an angry mob of Trump supporters descended on the Capitol. Loeffler said that the “violence, the lawlessness, and siege of the halls of Congress” were a “direct attack” on the “sanctity of the American democratic process.”
All three had previously signed on to Trump’s false claims of widespread voter fraud to explain his defeat. Loeffler has just days left in her term. She lost her Senate race to Democrat Raphael Warnock earlier Wednesday.