WASHINGTON – Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska issued a pointed rebuke Thursday of GOP attempts to object Jan. 6 to the Electoral College tally of the presidential election, warning colleagues against a “dangerous ploy” that could damage the nation's civic traditions.
Sasse, a potential 2024 presidential contender, posted a lengthy explanation of his views on social media, including a paragraph by paragraph dismantling of allegations of voter fraud in key states won by President-elect Joe Biden. Sasse said he felt compelled to speak “truth” as constituents and those supporting President Donald Trump wanted to know where he stands on the issue.
“I will not be participating in a project to overturn the election,” Sasse wrote. He said he wanted to explain “why I have been urging my colleagues also to reject this dangerous ploy.”
Trump, the first president to lose a reelection bid in almost 30 years, has attributed his defeat to widespread voter fraud, despite nonpartisan election officials saying there wasn't any. He has pushed Republican senators to pursue his unfounded charges even though the Electoral College this month cemented Biden’s 306-232 victory and multiple legal efforts to challenge the results have failed.
The missive from Sasse offers the Republican Party a different path for the post-Trump era, in stark contrast to other potential 2024 contenders — most notably, Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo. — who are leading the challenge during next week's joint session of Congress.
Hawley became the first GOP senator this week to announce he will raise objections when Congress meets to affirm Biden’s victory in the election, forcing House and Senate votes that are likely to delay — but in no way alter — the final certification of Biden's win.
Other Republican senators are expected to join Hawley, wary of ceding the spotlight to him as they, too, try to emerge as leaders in a post-Trump era.
Some Republicans in the Democratic-majority House have already said they will object on Trump’s behalf during the Jan. 6 count of electoral votes, and they had needed just a single senator to go along with them to force votes in both chambers.