Ben Sasse: Trump and allies are ‘playing with fire’ with Jan. 6 challenge


Sen. Ben Sasse, Nebraska Republican, said President Trump and Mr. Trump’s conservative allies in Congress are “playing with fire” with the push to challenge the Electoral College results on Jan. 6.

Mr. Sasse said if people make big claims of election fraud, they need to back it up with evidence.

“But the president doesn’t and neither do the institutional arsonist members of Congress who will object to the Electoral College vote,” Mr. Sasse said in a Facebook post late Wednesday.

He said “ambitious politicians” are trying to tap into Mr. Trump’s base without doing real, long-term damage.

“But they’re wrong — and this issue is bigger than anyone’s personal ambitions,” Mr. Sasse said. “Adults don’t point a loaded gun at the heart of legitimate self-government.”

Mr. Sasse, who was first elected in 2014 and reelected this year, also revealed that he wrote in Vice President Mike Pence on his presidential ballot in 2016 and 2020.

Sen. Josh Hawley, Missouri Republican, said Wednesday he planned to object when the results are announced in Congress on Jan. 6.

“I cannot vote to certify the electoral college results on January 6 without raising the fact that some states, particularly Pennsylvania, failed to follow their own state election laws,” Mr. Hawley said.

Mr. Hawley is widely presumed to be a potential Republican presidential contender in 2024.

A number of House conservatives have also said they’ll object, but the objections need support from at least one U.S. senator to be heard and debated.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has warned his troops against joining in and Senate Majority Whip John Thune of South Dakota predicted that the Senate would easily kill any attempt to overturn the results.

Both the Democrat-led House and the GOP-controlled Senate would have to agree to nullify the results from individual states.

Mr. Pence, who is also the president of the Senate, will oversee the proceedings.

In 2017, President-elect Joseph R. Biden — then the vice president — quickly moved things along after House Democrats raised similar objections to Mr. Trump’s win because they didn’t get support from any senators.

Mr. Biden defeated Mr. Trump in the Electoral College by a 306-232 margin. It takes 270 electoral votes to clinch the presidency.

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