Our Views: Congress Should Expel Senator John Kennedy and Other Republicans Who Engaged in Sedition

Following an insurrection at our nation’s Capitol that was incited by President Donald Trump, five of six Louisiana Republican elected officials objected to the President-elect Joe Biden’s electors in key swing states. After an objection to Arizona’s electors was raised, the Senate and House of Representatives convened in their respective chambers to debate the objection.

Meanwhile, an angry mob was outside of the nation’s Capitol at the behest of President Trump. Trump encouraged the insurrectionists to march to the Capitol, telling his supporters “we will never concede.” They followed suit and eventually stormed the Capitol, busting windows, attacking police and occupying Senate and House chambers. Four people ended up dying in the process, including a U.S. Capitol police officer.

In the ensuing hours, Republicans and Democrats alike were appalled by the assault on our Capitol. During this time, President Donald Trump put out a video asking his supporters to go home, but then telling them he feels their pain, calling them special people, and saying “we love you.” After the video supporting the insurrectionists, Twitter suspended Trump’s account for 12 hours, and Facebook subsequently followed suit.

Close aides surrounding the President informed the media that Trump was reluctant to order the National Guard to help ward off the mayhem. Instead it was Vice President Mike Pence who reached out to the Pentagon to order the National Guard in. In response to the video, some of Trump’s staunchest supporters to include former Republican Representative Trey Gowdy blasted the President for his tepid response and laid the blame for the insurrection on Trump’s rhetoric.

While the D.C. police were busy restoring order and securing the perimeter of the Capitol, many Republicans appeared on several news outlets to report that in light of the attacks on the Capitol there would be much fewer objections.

To be clear, the Constitution of the United States does not include a provision for Senators and Congressmen and women to reject any state’s electors when there is no evidence of fraud and no alternative slate of electors is presented. The twelfth amendment of the Constitution reads:

“The Electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person vot- ed for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and of all persons voted for as Vice-President, and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate; The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Repre- sentatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted;—The person having the greatest number of votes for President, shall be the President…”

The only purpose that the Senate and House of Representatives is, in no uncertain terms, to open the ballots and count them. There is absolutely no language in the Constitution that gives power to our Senators and Congressmen to reject the electors that have been certified by the states and sent to the U.S. government to be tallied. Any debate or objection to the election results are required by the Constitution to be addressed by the respective states where the results are in question.

Typically, over the course of our nation’s history the ballot count and certification of the vote had been a formality that has not garnered much attention, but for months following the election, President Trump has cast doubt on the presidential election, calling the election fraudulent and stolen. He’s been inciting anger for months. Despite this, Senator John Kennedy and Representatives Mike Johnson, Clay Higgins, Steve Scalise and Garrett Graves actually relinquished their Constitutional duty and voted to overturn the will of the voters and the Electoral College by refusing to accept Biden’s electors in two key swing states. Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy is the only member of our Republican delegation that defended our election and spoke out against members of Congress rejecting electors. Senator John Kennedy voted to refuse Arizona’s electors while the remaining Louisiana Republican delegation voted to reject Pennsylvania’s electors.

They painted this as a protest vote. Let’s be clear. This was not a protest vote. This was a vote to undermine and subvert our democracy by rejecting the will of the voters. In effect, our Louisiana Republican elected Representatives just told millions of minority voters that their votes don’t count because the election was fraudulent. Fortunately, there were several Republican Senators including Mike Lee of Utah, Lindsay Graham of South Carolina and Rand Paul of Kentucky who defended our Constitution by pointing out Congress has no authority to vote to reject the state’s electors and that their purpose was not to debate whether or not our elections were fair, free and secure. As they clearly articulated, any investigation of election fraud and debate about election reforms must happen at the state level, and any evidence of fraud should be litigated in the courts. But despite the Trump administration fighting tooth and nail to overturn the election by claiming widespread voter fraud in several key swing states that Trump lost, all the lawsuits were thrown out because the administration provided the courts with no evidence of fraud.

To object to and reject these states’ electors is a clear violation of our elected officials’ oath of office. Our Republican representatives were complicit in the insurrection on our nation’s Capitol. Their rhetoric casting doubt on our fair and free election threw our democracy in a downward spiral and contributed —along with President Trump—to the domestic terrorist attack on our Capitol.

Despite most Republicans rebuking Trump for his rhetoric inciting the insurrection, the five of the six of our Republican elected officials issued a tepid response, condemning the violence, but failing to unequivocally accept the results of this election.

The Facebook post above came after the attacks on our Capitol. As shown, Senator John Kennedy stated “I will continue to do my job,” which clearly illustrated his intent to continue objecting to the election results. The statements from the other Louisiana Republican members were similar in nature.

By refusing to hold Trump accountable and tell the voters the truth that Joe Biden is the clear winner of the Presidential election, these Republican officials have blood on their hands, including the murder of a U.S. Capitol police officer. It’s simply unconscionable and embarrassing for our state’s own Representatives to continue to cast doubt on our election following the attack on our Capitol.

We believe the Constitution is clear that any attempt to subvert our democracy and overturn the will of the voters is considered an act of sedition. Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment is very clear that any duly elected Senator or Representative who has taken part in insurrection or rebellion, providing comfort to the enemies, shall be removed by Congress with 2/3 of the vote. Simply put, it is now up to Congress to uphold their Constitutional duty to expel members of Congress who have provided comfort to the anti-American rhetoric that our election was stolen, which resulted in an attempted coup of our federal government. We are calling on Congress to vote to expel five of the six Republican elected officials who voted to overturn our election and gave voice to the insurrectionists. They have clearly demonstrated their blatant disregard for the Constitution and their inability to fulfill and uphold their oath to the Constitution of the United States. Our nation must send a message to the rest of the world that our Country will not tolerate those who undermine our democracy and support the enemies of America. We must act now.



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