The following is a transcription of a short dissenting speech by Sen. Ted Cruz (pictured above) before Wednesday’s Electoral College session of Congress. In objecting to the Electoral College submission of Arizona, Cruz urged the appointment an Electoral Commission to conduct an emergency audit of the 2020 election. (YouTube screenshot)
The speech came prior to the mass protest and rioting at the Capitol.
WASHINGTON, DC — We gather together at a moment of great division. A moment of great passion.
We have seen, and no doubt we’ll continue to see, a great deal of moralizing from both sides of the aisle. But I would urge to both sides, perhaps a bit less certitude, and a bit more recognition that we are gathered at a time when democracy is in crisis.
Recent polling shows that 39% of Americans believe the election that just occurred, quote, “was rigged.” You may not agree with that assessment, but it is nonetheless a reality for nearly half the country.
I would note it is not just Republicans who believe that. Thirty-one percent of independents agree with that statement. Seventeen percent of Democrats believe the election was rigged.
Even if you do not share that conviction, it is the responsibility, I believe, of this office to acknowledge that is a profound threat to this country, and to the legitimacy of any administration that will come in the future.
I want to take a moment to speak to my Democratic colleagues.
I understand your guy is winning right now. If democrats vote as a bloc, Joe Biden will almost certainly be certified as the next president of the United States.
I want to speak to the Republicans who are considering voting against these objections.
I understand your concern,s but I urge you to pause and think: What does it say to the nearly half the country that believes this election was rigged, if we vote not even to consider the claims of illegality and fraud in this election.
And I believe there’s a better way.
The leader just spoke about setting aside the election. Let me be clear: I am not arguing for setting aside the result of this election.
All of us are faced with two choices, both of which are lousy.
One choice is vote against the objection, and 10s of millions of Americans will see a vote against the objection, as a statement that voter fraud doesn’t matter; isn’t real; and shouldn’t be taken seriously.
And a great many of us don’t believe that.
On the other hand, most, if not all of us, believe we should not set aside the results of an election, just because our candidate may not have prevailed.
And so I endeavor to look for door number three — a third option — and for that I look to history. To the precedent of the 1876 election — The Hayes-Tilden election — where this Congress appointed an electoral commission to examine claims of voter fraud.
Five House members, five senators, five supreme court justices examined the evidence and rendered a judgment. And what I would urge of this body is that we do the same. That we appoint an Electoral Commission to conduct a 10-day emergency audit, consider the evidence, and resolve the claims.
For those on the Democratic aisle who say “There is no evidence; they’ve been rejected,” than you should rest in comfort. If that’s the case, an electoral commission would reject those claims. But for those who respect the voters — simply telling the voters “go jump in a lake; the fact that you have deep concerns is of no moment to us” — that jeopardizes I believe the legitimacy of this and subsequent elections.
The Constitution gives the Congress the responsibility, this day, to count the votes. The framers knew what they were doing when they gave responsibilities to Congress.
We have a responsibility.
And I would urge that we follow the precedent of 1877. The Electoral Count Act explicitly allows objections such as this one for votes that were not regularly given. And let me be clear: this objection is for the state of Arizona, but it is broader than that. It is an objection for all six of the contested states, to have a credible objective impartial body, hear the evidence and make a conclusive determination.
That would benefit both sides. That would improve legitimacy of this election.
And so let me urge my colleagues — all of us take our responsibility seriously. I would urge my colleagues don’t take, perhaps the easy out. But instead, act together. Astonish the viewers and act in a bipartisan sense to say we will have a credible and fair tribunal consider the claims, consider the facts, consider the evidence and make a conclusive determination whether and to what extent this selection complied with the constitution and was federal law.
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