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In an interview with Politico, Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia gave a pointed rebuke of GOP Sens. Josh Hawley of Missouri and Ted Cruz of Texas in the aftermath of the US Capitol riots on Jan. 6.
Manchin, a moderate, said that Hawley and Cruz backing President Donald Trump’s election grievances alleging voter fraud and leading the Senate GOP electoral challenge of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory will have serious consequences.
“There’s no way they cannot be complicit in this,” he said. “That they think they can walk away and say, ‘I just exercised my right as a senator?’ Especially after we came back here and after they saw what happened.”
He added: “I don’t know how you can live with yourself right now knowing that people lost their lives.”
Manchin, while in a secure area with other lawmakers during the siege in which five people died, said that he spoke with Hawley, Cruz, and Sens. James Lankford of Oklahoma and Steve Daines of Montana to convince them to drop their electoral objections.
Lankford and Daines chose not to go through with contesting Biden’s 306-232 Electoral College win over Trump, “when they saw the danger of what happened,” according to Manchin.
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Once the building was cleared of rioters, Hawley and Cruz still went through with their objections to the Arizona and Pennsylvania vote counts, which both failed.
Biden’s victory was certified early in the morning on January 7.
Sens. Hawley and Cruz, who have long been seen as likely 2024 GOP presidential candidates, have faced a flurry of calls to step down. Several of their Democratic colleagues in the upper chamber, including Sens. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Ron Wyden or Oregon, Chris Coons of Delaware, and Patty Murray of Washington, have all called for both Hawley and Cruz to resign.
Republican colleagues and possible 2024 contenders including Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Ben Sasse of Nebraska declined to join in the election challenges.
Former GOP Sen. John Danforth, who represented Missouri in the Senate from 1976 to 1995 and was one of Hawley’s biggest champions in his 2018 Senate campaign, recently lamented his support as “the worst mistake I ever made in my life.”
Both Hawley and Cruz have refused to step down from their seats, but with the fallout from the riots still in the minds of every lawmaker on Capitol Hill, their effectiveness in the Senate will likely be an open question going forward.
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Source:: Business Insider