On Senate Floor, Portman Condemns Attack on U.S. Capitol and His Support for Certifying Electoral College Results

January 6, 2021 | Press Releases

WASHINGTON, DC – Today on the Senate floor, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) condemned the attack on the U.S. Capitol by a criminal mob. In addition, he discussed his support for certifying the formal count of the Electoral College votes by Congress. As he has stated previously, he noted that the Constitution was drafted by the Founders to ensure that the people and the states hold the power to choose the President, not Congress, and that voting to reject a state’s electors is an extreme remedy that runs counter to that intention. Portman, who supported President Trump’s re-election, understands that many Americans believe the election was unfairly decided despite two months of recounts and legal challenges that found no evidence of fraud or irregularities widespread enough to change the result of the election. That is why he plans to introduce legislation to establish an independent, bipartisan, blue ribbon panel on election integrity that would provide transparency into issues in the 2020 election, and recommend best practices for the states moving forward.

Ultimately, Portman reiterated that he cannot support establishing a dangerous precedent where Congress can inappropriately assert itself to try to reverse the will of the voters. That is why he is upholding his oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States by voting to certify the results of 2020 presidential election.

A transcript of the speech can be found below and a video can be found here.

“Mr. Vice President, you have fulfilled your duties as President of the Senate tonight with distinction, and we all appreciate it.

“I thought about changing my mind and not speaking tonight given the lateness of the hour, and I know all of my colleagues would have appreciated that greatly, but I felt it was necessary to speak, because I want the American people, particularly my constituents in Ohio, to see that we will not be intimidated, that we will not be disrupted from our work, that here in the citadel of democracy we will continue to do the work of the people. Mob rule is not going to prevail here. Now, let’s face it, we did not reclaim this chamber tonight. Brave and selfless law enforcement officers stood in the breach and ensured that the citadel of democracy would be protected, and that we would be defended. And we are deeply grateful for that, as is the nation.

“I’ve listened carefully to the comments of my colleagues and I’ve listened over the past couple of weeks as this issue has been discussed, and I tell you, for me, it’s not a hard decision. I stand with the Constitution. I stand with what the Constitution makes clear -- the people and the states hold the power here, not us. My oath to the Constitution and my reverence for our democratic principles make it easy for me to confirm these state certifications. By the way, I opposed this process some 15 years ago when some Democrats chose to object to the electors from my home state of Ohio after the 2004 elections. I opposed it then and I oppose it now. I said at the time, ‘Congress must not thwart the will of the people.’ That’s what we would be doing.

Let’s assume for a moment that those who object to the certifications are right, that the Constitution intended that a bare majority of members of Congress could circumvent the states that have chosen to certify the popular votes of their own citizens. I ask the objectors to think about the precedent that would be set if we were to do that. What if the majority in the House and the Senate was of the other party when a presidential candidate of our party came through a close presidential election? Would you want a Congress controlled by the Democrats to play the role you now intend for us?

“It is asking Congress to substitute its judgment for the judgment of the voters. And its judgment for the judgment of the states that certified the results. And even forgetting the dangerous precedent that would be set, what would be the basis for objecting in this election? Look, I voted for President Trump. I supported him because I believe the Trump administration’s policies are better for Ohio and for the country. And I supported the Trump campaign’s right to pursue recounts -- they had every right to do it -- and legal challenges. I agree that there were instances of fraud and irregularities in the 2020 elections. I think we all do. And by the way, there’s fraud and irregularities in every presidential election. But it is also true that after two months of recounts and legal challenges, not a single state recount changed the result. And of the dozens of lawsuits filed, not one found evidence of fraud or irregularities widespread enough to change the result of the election. This was the finding of numerous Republican-appointed judges and the Trump administration’s own Department of Justice.

“Every state has now weighed in and chosen to certify its electoral slate based on the popular vote, as set out in the Constitution. I understand that many Americans who would never storm this Capitol don’t trust the integrity of the 2020 election, don’t think the states should have certified, don’t think we should have accepted the results from the states, and are insisting on more transparency and accountability. In the 2016 elections, lest we forget, many Democrats objected to the results and distrusted the election. I challenge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to listen but also to do our part to try to restore faith in our elections.

“Mr. President, we should all work to improve the integrity of the electoral system and the confidence of the American people in this bedrock of our great democratic republic. Today I’ll do my constitutional duty and oppose these efforts to reject the state-certified results and tomorrow in the wake of this attack on the Capitol, the pandemic that engulfs us, and other national challenges, let’s work together for the people.”