Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called his Electoral College certification vote on Jan. 6 the “most consequential I have ever cast” during a call with Senate Republicans, Axios reported Thursday.
McConnell describes his upcoming vote as “a vote of conscience,” sources told Axios. “I’m finishing 36 years in the Senate and I’ve cast a lot of big votes,” the source paraphrased McConnell as saying. “And in my view, just my view, this will be the most consequential I have ever cast,” McConnell said.
Republican Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley announced Wednesday that he would object to the Electoral College certification to count states’ electoral votes and finalize President-elect Joe Biden’s victory over President Donald Trump, defying McConnell’s wishes.
The conference call took a turn when McConnell asked Hawley multiple times to explain his plans to object to the certification, but was met with silence because it turned out Hawley wasn’t on the call.
Hawley later sent a letter to his fellow Republican senators addressing his absence from the call. “If you’ve been speaking to folks at home, I’m sure you know how deeply angry and disillusioned many, many people are — and how frustrated that Congress has taken little or no action.”
“I strongly believe there should be a full fledged congressional investigation and also a slate of election integrity legislation. I intend to object during the certification process on January 6 in order to force these issues to the fore, and to point out the unprecedented failure of states like Pennsylvania to follow their own election laws and the unprecedented efforts of the Big Tech corporations to interfere with this election.”
Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Pat Toomey spoke out against Hawley’s decision to object during the certification process. A spokesperson said that Toomey “strongly disagrees,” according to Politico reporter Alex Isenstadt.
McConnell has acknowledged Biden as the President-elect, sparking tension between him and Trump, who criticized McConnell and claimed credit for his reelection.
McConnell had previously urged senators not to force the vote, which could jeopardize Republican reelection prospects in the 2022 election by forcing incumbent senators to choose whether to side with Trump or vote to establish Biden’s victory.
Earlier Thursday, McConnell defied Trump’s wishes to increase stimulus checks to $2,000 from $600, again blocking a standalone bill to increase the relief payments.