Missouri Republican Sen. Josh Hawley announced Wednesday that he will object to the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory when Congress convenes next week to ratify the results of the 2020 election.
The move, which is largely symbolic, guarantees that both chambers will be forced to debate the results and vote on whether to accept Biden’s victory, a process that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had urged Republicans to avoid.
In a statement, Hawley said he felt compelled to object because of alleged voting irregularities.
“At the very least,” he said, “Congress should investigate allegations of voter fraud and adopt measures to secure the integrity of our elections. But Congress has so far failed to act.”
Hawley’s statement cited unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud that have been championed by President Donald Trump and his allies in an effort to overturn the outcome of the November election. Hawley also argued in his statement that Pennsylvania failed to adhere to its election laws by extending the deadline for mail-in ballots.
There’s no evidence of widespread fraud in the election.
Any member of the House, joined by a member of the Senate, can contest the electoral votes on Jan. 6. The challenge prompts a floor debate followed by a vote in each chamber.
Several House Republicans have previously signaled their intention to object.
House Democrats have challenged the results of the 2000, 2004 and 2016 elections, but only after the 2004 election did a senator — California’s Barbara Boxer — join in the challenge. That year, Democrats objected to Ohio’s electoral votes, which forced a two-hour debate and was ultimately defeated by a wide margin.
After Hawley made his announcement on Twitter, he was taunted by the official account of Walmart, which said in a now deleted tweet, “Go ahead. Get your 2 hour debate. #soreloser.”
The company apologized after getting criticized by Hawley, saying the tweet was “mistakenly posted by a member of our social media team who intended to publish this comment to their personal account.”
“We have removed the post and have no intention of commenting on the subject of certifying the electoral college,” the company’s statement said. “We apologize to Sen. Hawley for this error and any confusion about our position.”
Hawley responded to the tweet by sarcastically thanking Walmart for “your insulting condescension. Now that you’ve insulted 75 million Americans, will you at least apologize for using slave labor? Or maybe you’d like to apologize for the pathetic wages you pay your workers as you drive mom and pop stores out of business.”