Months after the general election, I found myself watching on in absolute disgust and horror as the capital was stormed by an armed and angry mob. I remember watching Notre Dame burn and felt the same helpless feeling a year prior. Hard to put emotion into words. Disgust. Sad. Angry. Ashamed. Worse, the entire spectacle was a lie meant to delay the unavoidable. How did we get here? It reminded me of the quote from an Avengers movie:
“I know what it’s like to lose. To feel so desperately that you’re right, yet to fail nonetheless. It’s frightening, turns the legs to jelly. But I ask you, to what end? Dread it. Run from it. Destiny arrives all the same.”
And so, I felt heart and pride in our country that Congress rallied and completed the certification later that evening despite blood being on the floors outside. Rarely do I watch the Senate procedures play out, and I don’t believe our media covers the voting process well. After a few speeches, I watched as Mitt Romney stepped up to the podium. Below is the transcript from his office. But he did add a few lines that night, noting he understands what it feels like to lose not included below. There are few living US Presidents. And there are fewer who failed to achieve the highest office in the land.
We gather today due to a selfish man’s injured pride and the outrage of his supporters whom he has deliberately misinformed for the past two months and stirred to action this very morning. What happened here today was an insurrection, incited by the President of the United States. Those who choose to continue to support his dangerous gambit by objecting to the results of a legitimate, democratic election will forever be seen as being complicit in an unprecedented attack against our democracy. They will be remembered for their role in this shameful episode in American history. That will be their legacy.
The objectors have claimed they are doing so on behalf of the voters. Have an audit, they say, to satisfy the many people who believe that the election was stolen. Please! No Congressional led audit will ever convince those voters, particularly when the President will continue to claim that the election was stolen. The best way we can show respect for the voters who are upset is by telling them the truth. That is the burden, and the duty, of leadership. The truth is that President-elect Biden won this election. President Trump lost. Scores of courts, the President’s own Attorney General, and state election officials both Republican and Democrat have reached this unequivocal decision.
We must not be intimidated or prevented from fulfilling our constitutional duty. We must continue with the count of electoral college votes. In light of today’s sad circumstances, I ask my colleagues: Do we weigh our own political fortunes more heavily than we weigh the strength of our Republic, the strength of our democracy, and the cause of freedom? What is the weight of personal acclaim compared to the weight of conscience?
Leader McConnell said that the vote today is the most important in his 40 plus years of public service. That is not because this vote reveals something about the election; it is because this vote reveals something about ourselves. I urge my colleagues to move forward with completing the electoral count, to refrain from further objections, and to unanimously affirm the legitimacy of the presidential election.