Local reps object to Joe Biden certification in wake of Capitol riot

Paul Myers

Congressmen Devin Nunes, Kevin McCarthy vote in favor of objection to Joe Biden’s certification in Congress even after a Trump supporters stormed the Capitol

By Paul Myers and Reggie Ellis

WASHINGTON DC – What had historically been a rather mundane procedure to certify the country’s vote for president was assaulted by a raging mob of Trump supporters last Wednesday. American eyes were glued to their television sets as representatives were whisked away in a panic. Only minutes later the entire Capitol was beset by rioters clad in red, white and blue—many of whom donned red “Make America Great Again” hats.

In light of the damage caused by riotous supporters of President Donald Trump, prominent local congressman Devin Nunes and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy—whose district largely represents Kern County—voted in favor of objecting to President-Elect Joe Biden’s certification. And they weren’t alone.

McCarthy and Nunes were among the 121 Republicans in the House to support the objection to certifying Arizona’s election as well as the 138 Republicans in the House to support the objection to certifying Pennsylvania’s election.

McCarthy said he agreed with both objections, “because constitutional questions have been raised about changes to election processes and whether these changes were approved by their respective legislatures.” Although the minority leader did conclude his statement by recognizing Biden will be the next president of the United States.

McCarthy added that the debate and votes were not about overturning an election or federalizing elections.

“Instead, it was to ensure that our country follows an accurate and accountable process that complies with the Constitution so that millions of Americans who voted on Election Day can have confidence in our system,” McCarthy said. “In this new session of Congress, we must act now to safeguard our elections.”

Nunes, who received the Presidential Medal of Freedom last Monday, did not issue a statement before or after the objections and did not issue a statement on the events that unfolded at the Capitol. Though he did off his condolences after Capitol police officer Brian Sicknick died from his wounds after being hit with a fire extinguisher and savagely beaten by the crowd. Nunes was careful not to point fingers at the Trump supporters who charged the Capitol and left destruction and death in their wake.

“Officer Sicknick’s death is a reminder of the steep price paid by individuals, families, and American society overall when political violence becomes normalized,” Nunes said. “I urge all Americas, across the entire political spectrum, to reject this senseless brutality and to advocate for political change through purely peaceful means. Justice must now be served on those responsible for Officer Sicknick’s death.”

Police stations all over America, including here in Tulare County, have brought their flags to half mast to honor Sicknick.

Congressman David Valadao, who was quarantining at home last Wednesday, was unable to vote for the certification of the election. Although, while the melee was occurring, he published his dismay in a series of Tweets. Much of his commentary was his objection to the Trump supporters’ behavior, but he also enlightened anyone willing to read his commentary.

“The behavior by these ‘protesters’ on the Capitol Complex is absolutely abhorrent. This is un-American,” Valadao said. “The role of Congress as defined by the Constitution is to count the votes certified by the states. It is not the role of Congress to choose who the states certify…Choosing to ignore the facts for the sake of party power is damaging to the American people’s confidence in the Electoral College.”

Rallying the rioters

During the domestic siege on the Capitol, President Trump made a brief one minute statement calling for rioters to go home peacefully. He called them “very special,” and added that “we love you.”

Earlier in the day Trump, his sons, daughter and lawyer Rudy Giuliani held one of his famous rallies outside of the White House. Giuliani called for a “trial by combat” after noting asserting the election was stolen and people could go to jail for fraud. Trump himself openly directed the crowd to march to the Capitol during his remarks.

Just the Sunday prior, news had broken that Trump was clamoring for something to be done about alleged voter fraud in Georgia. In the call he claimed that he won the election by a landslide, all while berating the secretary of state of Georgia noting, “Stacy Abrams is making fools out of you.” He also continued to allege that ballots were run several times through voting machines running up the vote count for Biden.

On Jan. 6, Texas senator, Ted Cruz had called for a 10-day audit of the vote citing that 39% of the electorate believes there was mass voter fraud. His recommendation was ultimately ignored when the Senate returned to the chamber and voted 93-6 to move on from the objection to Arizona’s certification. It was 92-7 when considering the objection to Pennsylvania’s certification. Cruz voted in favor of objection for both.

Before Cruz’s time on the floor, majority leader Mitch McConnell implored his Republican colleagues to do away with the objections. He added that the election was not particularly close, and some of the judges who threw out the Trump campaign’s lawsuits were nominated by Trump himself.

Still, the election ran the gamut of legal proceedings from Nov. 7 when Biden was projected as the winner of the election through December. Multiple news outlets have covered that the Trump team has yet to make any significant argument in court. One of their first cases from November challenged the vote-counting process in Philadelphia, Penn. The Trump Campaign’s legal team asked Judge Paul S. Diamond to issue an emergency order to stop the count because Republican observers had been barred from viewing the count.

Famously, Judge Diamond asked how many observers were in the room where votes were being counted. The attorney arguing the case said the campaign had a “nonzero number of people in the room.” To which Diamond curtly replied, “I’m sorry, then what’s your problem?”

But the stacking losses of legal challenges has not deterred conspiracy theorists or even Tulare County’s sheriff, Mike Boudreaux. On the now defunct social media platform, Parler, Boudreaux made a religious overture as recently as Saturday and expressed that Trump will remain president after Jan. 20. Also comparing America’s struggle to child birth.

“We are in the labor pains of child birth. Meaning the joy of a new beginning is getting ready to be birthed. This is hard for many and the pain is great however when victory comes with Trump there will be great rejoicing. This is about the glory of God falling upon our country. Things happening soon. Don’t lose your hope and faith. Amen,” Boudreaux said.

Boudreaux used to post frequently on Twitter until he made unfavorable comments about whether public safety should respond to future calls made by those protesting the police after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last summer.

Boudreaux said in a Tweet, “For all those people who are hating cops across this nation. Just leave your name and address at your local police agency and let them know whenever you dial 9-1-1 or need emergency police services [that] you no longer wish for them to respond to your calls for help.”

Backlash was swift when members of the community called into question Boudreaux’s leadership during Tulare County Board of Supervisors meetings. Boudreaux later issued a statement on video to say that he took down his comments because they were becoming the subject of hate speech.

“Let me be very clear that I was not saying nor implying that law enforcement officers should not respond to emergency calls made by people who are protesting. I would never encourage that,” Boudreaux said.

Shortly after Boudreaux abandoned Twitter in favor of Parler.

State senator for the 16th district, Shannon Grove had been referenced by several media outlets for presumably publishing a post on her personal Twitter account saying the attack on the Capitol was Antifa—an anti-fascist movement from the far left. The Sun-Gazette reached out to Grove’s office for clarification but did not receive a response.

Grove’s verified account on Twitter published several posts calling for “healing.”

“Praying for healing over our Nation and protection for our law enforcement officers in DC right now. Enough is enough. Stop the violence. Stop the attack on our Capitol,” one of her posts reads.

State assemblyman, Devon Mathis, who represents the 26th District encompassing Visalia and most of Tulare County pushed back against the violence used during the riot on Jan. 6. He posted, “Violence is not protest. What’s happened in DC is flat out wrong! Stop with the ‘well they did X,’ we only have a civil society when people act civilly.”

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