Even in defeat, Trump is tightening his grip on state GOP lawmakers

Last week, President Trump’s allies accused Republican leaders in Pennsylvania of being “cowards” and “liars” and letting America down.

In his own crusade, Mr. Trump called on the Supreme Republicans in the General Assembly to twist the arms of officials in several states and reverse the lost election. Pennsylvania lawmakers have told the president they have no authority to convene a separate meeting to resolve their complaints.

But his efforts were also rewarded: On Friday, the Speaker and Majority Leader of the State House joined right-wing colleagues he had previously resisted and called on Congress to reject Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s youth victory in Pennsylvania by 81,000 votes.

The extraordinary intervention of the president and the willingness of some top party leaders to fulfill their efforts to turn the election around show that Mr Trump’s sway over elected Republicans is likely to persist after his resignation and that his false claims of “The 2020 vote could ignite the party for years to come.

In summary, the national courts rejected Trump’s allegations of stolen elections. But 64 Republicans in the General Assembly signed a letter last week calling on the Pennsylvania congressional delegation to reject the state’s Electoral College votes for Mr. Biden.

Kim Ward, the Republican majority leader in the Pennsylvania Senate, said the president called on him to declare the vote fraudulent. But he said he had not been shown a letter to Congress before his appearance, which he had hastily compiled.

Asked if he signed it, he indicated that the Republican base expects party leaders to support Trump’s claims – or oppose his anger.

“If I were to tell you,‘ I don’t want to do it, ’” he said of signing the letter, “I would bomb my house tonight.

One of the main questions for Republicans everywhere, including the countries of Pennsylvania – where seats are open for the governor and the U.S. Senate in 2022 to vote – is whether the party will nominate Trump-aligned candidates in future contests. The president lost Pennsylvania, but Republicans made a down vote in two nationwide races and took a seat in the legislature.

“Those who continue to beat this drum that the election was rigged are trying to reassure Trump’s base and get their support early,” said Secretary of State Ryan Bizzarro, a member of the Democratic leadership.

Mr Bizzarro said it would be a gift to Democrats to remember candidates for the Republican government or the Senate who would run in the pre-election because they echoed Mr Trump’s unfounded demand for mass fraud from postal items and bitter end-to-end resistance to the loss. .

“Forget all the Democrats who voted by letter – look at all the Republicans who voted by letter,” he said. “Are you saying that their voices aren’t as important as the fringe who are blind to the facts and the way our Constitution clearly articulates elections?”

On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court became the latest of dozens of tribunals to drop the case of Trump’s allies, in this case a Pennsylvania congressman and a losing congressional candidate. They sought to invalidate the state’s 2.6 million postal votes, 77 percent of which were cast to Mr Biden.

Republicans have argued that a 2019 state law that allows non-exculpatory letter voting is unconstitutional, although it has passed Republican-led legislation and was signed by Prime Minister Tom Wolf, Democrats.

Earlier, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled against the same plaintiffs, one of whom was former Army Sean Parnell and Mr. Trump’s favorite, who occasionally appears in Fox News. He lost his race in Congress to Conor Lamb, but in 2022 he was mentioned as a potential state candidate.

Pennsylvania Republican strategist Charlie Gerow has expressed doubts that party members ’fighting will stigmatize Republicans in the mid-term election because of the legitimacy of the election. “There will be so many candidates for the national office that what happens in December 2020 will, in my opinion, have very little impact on what happens in 2022,” he said.

Almost all states have verified the results of their elections, and Mr. Biden secured the 270 voter votes needed to become the next president when the Electoral College meets on Monday.

Nevertheless, more than 60 Republicans in the Pennsylvania legislature — about half of the party’s total committee — urged Congress to take a final stand with Mr. Trump and protest the state’s Biden voters.

In order for the ballot paper to be challenged, the approval of a member of the House and a senator is required when Congress meets in a joint session on January 6 to accept voter votes. Both chambers would then meet separately to discuss and vote on the objection. A Democrat-led house would almost certainly reject any challenge.

“I’d bet this vote would fail with my last dollar,” said MP Matt Cartwright, a Democratic member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. “But what’s going to be really interesting is to see which Republican member boldly ignores the Pennsylvania General Assembly’s request.”

Nor is it clear whether any senator will accept the challenge. Pennsylvania’s top-elected Republican member, through the office of Senator Pat Toomey, said he would not support it. In an interview with The Philadelphia Inquirer on Tuesday, Mr. Toomey, one of about two dozen Republicans in Congress who openly acknowledged Mr. Biden’s victory, said it was “completely unacceptable” for Mr. Trump to put pressure on state lawmakers to cancel the election. results.

In January 2017, a handful of Democrats in the House sought to challenge Mr. Trump’s election votes, and he was defeated when no senator joined them. (Mr. Biden, who was vice-president of the senate, stated, “It’s over.”)

The most recent election challenge in Congress led to an actual debate in 2005 when President George W. Bush’s vote table was questioned, although that challenge was unsuccessful after the House and Senate met to vote.

Mr. Toomey’s decision not to seek a third cycle in 2022 has accelerated jockering on both sides to have a successor. The majority of Republicans, who are thought to be considering Senate or Governor campaigns, grew when they acted as champions of Mr. Trump’s most grazed claims about hijacked elections.

State Senator Doug Mastriano held a hearing last month at a hotel in Gettysburg where the president’s personal attorney, Rudolph W. Giuliani, made false allegations about the election, including a claim that postal items in Philadelphia were “not checked at all”. The demands were made in real time on Twitter by a Republican member of the Philadelphia Electoral Board.

At the Gettysburg trial, few wore masks, and Mr. Giuliani later gave a positive result for the coronavirus. Invited to the White House, retired Army Colonel Mr. Mastriano, who claimed to be running the governorship, allegedly learned there that he had also been infected with the virus.

Last week, the Republican leaders of the legislature pushed back the president’s allies for the first time, urging lawmakers to intervene and demand that an alternative delegation to the Electoral College be appointed to vote for Mr Trump.

Republican leaders have stated in a joint note that they have no power to disregard verified election results and to appoint their own constituents.

Trump’s allies condemned the leaders. Mr Giuliani stated that beep that they “let America down” and called “we all Republicans to let them know what we think of them”.

Giuliani’s ally, former New York Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, called on Pennsylvania leadership team to take action “Cowardice Profiles” and labeled leaders as “liars” and “traitors”. Retweeted by Jenna Ellis, a member of Mr. Trump’s legal team.

Shortly afterwards, two top Republicans in the Pennsylvania House – Bryan Cutler, the speaker, and Kerry Benninghoff, the majority leader – joined the callers and called on Congress to block Biden voters. Their letter of challenge contained allegations of electoral violations that were repeatedly rejected by state and federal courts. Mr Trump has called Mr Cutler twice in recent days.

Through the spokesman, Mr. Cutler declined the request for an interview. Spokesman Michael Straub said the president “did not directly push Cutler to overthrow the results or rival voters”. The Speaker told the President that the General Assembly would not meet and could only be recalled by the Governor.

Cutler, 45, was elected performer in June. In order to keep his job, he will have elections in the full house in January. The pressure is on him to hold his electorate together, including its far-right members. A spokesman said he did not initiate a letter to Congress.

“This letter was specially designed by regular members and signed by Cutler,” Mr. Straub said.