GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger rejects Pence likening Trump to Ronald Reagan, says there’s ‘no comparison’ between the two

Adam Kinzinger
Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois.

GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois on Thursday rejected former Vice President Mike Pence’s comparison of former President Donald Trump to the late President Ronald Reagan, a Republican icon.

During a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., Pence praised the 40th president, who served from 1981 to 1989, as a “one of a kind” and a “disruptor.”

Pence then linked Reagan’s legacy to that of Trump.

“President Donald Trump is also one of a kind,” the former vice president said. “He too disrupted the status quo. He challenged the establishment. He invigorated our movement, and he set a bold new course for America in the 21st century. And now, as then, there is no going back.”

He added: “Under President Trump’s leadership we were able to achieve things Republicans have been talking about since the days of Barry Goldwater.”

Goldwater, the late Arizona senator, was the 1964 Republican presidential nominee and lost in a landslide to then-President Lyndon B. Johnson in the general election.

When Kinzinger, who voted to impeach the former president for his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, got wind of Pence’s comments, he was unforgiving in his assessment.

“Reagan inspired. Trump destroyed. No comparison,” he wrote on Twitter. “I am still amazed at these people that are so deferential to the weakest man I ever met.”

Read more: How Trump could use his relationship with Putin and Russia to skirt prosecution back in the USA

Kinzinger has been highly critical of Trump and the Republican leadership in recent months, even drawing the ire of several family members who have accused him of “treason” for defying the former president.

During an appearance on “Fox News Sunday” last month, Kinzinger blasted Trump once again, telling host Chris Wallace that Republican voters have “had their patriotism abused by somebody that simply wants to use it to maintain power.”

Reagan, who was an actor and a two-term governor of California before becoming president, has been regularly hailed as an arbiter of modern conservatism.

In the 1980 presidential election, Reagan handily defeated then-President Jimmy Carter, and his 1984 reelection bid against former Vice President Walter Mondale saw him capture 49 out of 50 states. (Reagan narrowly lost Minnesota, which was Mondale’s home state.)

Pence also took time in his speech to defend his role in certifying the results of the 2020 presidential election, expressing that he would “always be proud” of his actions as vice president.

For weeks, Trump tried earnestly to get Pence to reject the certification of President Joe Biden’s electoral victory, to avail.

“The Constitution affords the vice president no authority to reject or return electoral votes submitted to the Congress by the states,” Pence said. “The truth is there is almost no idea more un-American than the idea that one person could choose the president. The presidency belongs to the American people and the American people alone.”

He added: “I will always be proud that we did our part on that tragic day to reconvene the Congress and fulfilled our duty under the Constitution and the laws of the United States.”

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Trump disputes that the US is a 50-50 nation, says he ‘can’t believe’ that some states are blue

Donald Trump
Former President Donald Trump.

The 2020 electoral map reflected a familiar dichotomy in American politics – while Democratic “blue” states like California and New York voted for Joe Biden by wide margins, Republican “red” states like Alabama and Idaho were firmly in President Donald Trump’s column.

However, during Trump’s speech at the North Carolina GOP Convention on Saturday, he seemed incredulous at the notion that liberal-leaning states would have rejected his conservative platform in the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections.

Raising the issue of defunding police departments, which Biden and most congressional Democrats oppose, Trump refuted the concept that voters might side with left-of-center candidates.

The former president also questioned the notion of the country being evenly divided, despite having a Senate that is split with 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans and a House that is narrowly controlled by Democrats, along with swing states like Georgia and Wisconsin that were decided by slender margins in last year’s election.

Read more: We identified the 125 people and institutions most responsible for Donald Trump’s rise to power and his norm-busting behavior that tested the boundaries of the US government and its institutions

“Their policies are terrible,” he said. “There’s no way they go 50-50. Who the hell wants to defund the police? Look at what’s happening where they’re defunding the police. The crime rate is going up. The policy is so bad. … But I don’t believe it’s 50-50 because our country isn’t there.”

He added: “I think a lot of these elections where they [Democrats] always seem to have an advantage … I don’t believe it. I can’t believe that some of these states are blue. I know those people. They’re smart people. They love me because they love what I stand for. They’re not into these things. There’s something going on and we have to be very, very careful with our election process.”

In the 2020 presidential election, Biden won with 306 Electoral College votes, to 232 electoral votes for Trump. Biden also secured 51% of the popular vote to Trump’s 47% percent.

Trump, who for months has pushed debunked conspiracy theories about his election loss, influenced a wave of GOP-led voting laws that have sought to place restrictive measures on elections across the country.

In his speech, he continued to reject that a majority of voters in many states wouldn’t endorse his policies, instead calling into question the validity of the results.

“I don’t believe we’re a 50-50 nation where these states are split evenly,” he expressed. “They can’t be split. These are corrupt elections, possibly. And we can’t allow it to go on.”

Despite the continuous outcry from Trump, voting fraud is incredibly rare in the United States.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Trump says it’s ‘too early’ to tell if Pence would be his running mate in a possible 2024 White House bid

Trump Pence
Donald Trump and Mike Pence walk to deliver a coronavirus update in the White House Rose Garden on Monday, September 28, 2020.

Former President Donald Trump on Saturday declined to say if he would select former Vice President Mike Pence as his running mate if he opted for a White House bid in 2024.

Trump told Fox News in an interview that he had a “very good relationship” with Pence, but was “disappointed with Mike on one thing,” a likely reference to the former vice president’s refusal to overturn the 2020 Electoral College certification of President Joe Biden’s victory.

Pence, who presided over the certification on January 6, was forced to retreat into a secure location after the Capitol Building was breached that day. Several of the insurrectionists, who were part of a huge mob that sought to stop the certification, openly called for the vice president to be hanged.

Trump didn’t question Pence’s character during the interview, but the former president is still smarting from the election loss, saying that “it’s really too soon to tell” if he would bring Pence back into his fold.

“Certainly we had a very good relationship,” he said. “I was disappointed with Mike on one thing as he understands and some other people understand, but overall, I had a very good relationship with Mike and he’s a very fine person and a fine man.”

He added: “I was disappointed on one account but that was a choice that Mike made, and I want people to make their own decisions and he did. Mike and I have a good relationship … but it’s too early to be discussing running mates.”

Read more: We identified the 125 people and institutions most responsible for Donald Trump’s rise to power and his norm-busting behavior that tested the boundaries of the US government and its institutions

During a GOP event in New Hampshire last week, Insider’s Jake Lahut reported that Pence delved into his relationship with the former president as it related to the events of January 6.

“President Trump and I have spoken many times since we left office, and I don’t know if we’ll ever see eye to eye on that day,” he said. “But I will always be proud of what we accomplished for the American people over the last four years.”

He added: “As I said that night, January 6 was a dark day in the history of the United States Capitol. But thanks to the swift action of the Capitol Police and federal law enforcement, violence was quelled, the Capitol was secured, and that same day we reconvened the Congress and did our duty under the Constitution and the laws of the United States.”

In 2016, Trump tapped Pence, who was then Indiana’s governor, to join his ticket, in what was seen as an overture to religious conservatives.

As Pence explores his own possible White House bid, Trump continues to keep his 2024 plans under wraps.

The former president told Fox he would “make a decision in the not so distant future” and added that “people are going to be very happy.”

In his speech at the North Carolina GOP Convention on Saturday, Trump returned to his true form, praising conservatives who supported his agenda, backing Rep. Ted Budd for the Senate seat being vacated by GOP Sen. Richard Burr next year, and criticizing the Biden administration.

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GOP Sen. Roger Marshall, who voted to overturn the 2020 presidential election, says he’s ‘so ready to move on’

Roger Marshall
Sen. Roger Marshall of Kansas.

  • GOP Sen. Roger Marshall said that he wanted to “move on” from discussing his challenge of the election results.
  • “I made a decision based upon the facts that I knew at that point in time,” he said.
  • Former President Trump and his campaign spent months trying to overturn President Biden’s victory.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

GOP Sen. Roger Marshall of Kansas on Saturday said that he was “ready to move on” when asked about his support of former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results.

During an interview with CNN’s Pamela Brown, Marshall was questioned about whether his actions played a role in continued Republican distrust of the 2020 election.

Brown referred to a recent CNN poll conducted in late April which showed that 70 percent of Republicans believe that President Joe Biden didn’t legitimately win last year’s presidential race. The same poll revealed that only 23 percent of Republicans think Biden won the election fairly.

“Republicans continue to believe in the lie that this election, the last election was stolen,” Brown said. “You voted to toss out millions of votes in Arizona and Pennsylvania. You also joined the Texas lawsuit attempting to throw out votes cast in four states.”

She added: “I’m curious. Looking back, do you have any regrets about your actions and any concern that they contributed to misinformation about the election?”

“We’re just so ready to move on,” Marshall replied. “I made a decision based upon the facts that I knew at that point in time. I was concerned then, and I still am today that six states broke their own laws or their own constitution. But it’s time to move on. It’s time for this country to heal. It’s time for a spirit of forgiveness to be happening.”

Read more: Meet Merrick Garland’s inner circle of 18 officials. They’ve got a packed plate investigating major police departments and even Rudy Giuliani.

Days before the January 6 certification of Biden’s 306-232 Electoral College victory, Marshall joined a group of GOP senators led by Sens. Josh Hawley of Missouri and Ted Cruz of Texas who sought to challenge the results.

“I cannot vote to certify the electoral college results on January 6 without raising the fact that some states, particularly Pennsylvania, failed to follow their own state election laws,” Hawley said at the time.

The repeated maligning of the vote count by Trump and his campaign fueled the deadly insurrection at the US Capitol on January 6, which disrupted lawmakers as they sought to certify the results.

Later in the interview, Brown continued to press Marshall about how his challenge of the election results adhered to his ideological support of states’ rights.

“We want voting to easier, cheating to be harder,” he said. “By us standing up to our concerns about those elections, about the election integrity … it has forced those states with their problems to come to back to the table and have those legislatures work together to make sure we have safer elections with higher integrity.”

He added: “In my heart, I did what I thought was the right thing. I think the country is moving in a better direction.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

AT&T and Cigna are funding Republican groups led by election objectors they had promised to stop supporting

Republican Sens. Ted Cruz (center) and Josh Hawley (top) led the GOP effort to challenge Electoral College votes on January 6, which was interrupted as Trump supporters attempted to violently overturn Biden's victory.
  • AT&T and Cigna gave money to groups run by the GOP election objectors they pledged to stop supporting, Popular Information reported.
  • Some companies paused certain PAC contributions after GOP efforts to overturn Biden’s victory led to violence.
  • Here’s how much each S&P 500 corporate PAC had given – and if they’ve paused or resumed contributions.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

AT&T and Cigna both gave money last month to groups overseen by Republican lawmakers who sought to overturn the US presidential election results in January, despite earlier promises to pause support for those lawmakers, Popular Information’s Jedd Legum reported Friday.

After violent pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol, interrupting the GOP’s last-ditch effort to invalidate states’ Electoral College results, companies faced intense public criticism over their financial support of the 147 Republican members of Congress who backed the effort.

Amid the backlash, dozens of major corporations said they would pause contributions and reevaluate how they determine which lawmakers to support.

Yet barely a month later, AT&T and Cigna gave contributions to Republican groups led by – and benefitting – those same lawmakers.

AT&T’s Political Action Committee (PAC), just 35 days after pausing contributions to the 147 election objectors, gave $5,000 to the House Conservative Fund in February, according to Legum. Rep. Mike Johnson, a Republican from Louisiana who voted against certifying Electoral College results, sits on the fund’s executive committee – while other objectors are among its membership.

“Our employee PACs continue to adhere to their policy adopted on January 11 of suspending contributions to campaign committees of members of Congress who voted to object to the certification of Electoral College votes. Our employee PACs did not adopt a policy to halt contributions to Democratic and Republican multi-candidate PACs, however,” an AT&T spokesperson told Insider in a statement.

They added that while the contribution “was not intended to circumvent the current suspension policy regarding individual campaigns,” the PAC “is requesting that none of its contribution to the House Conservative Fund or to any other multi-candidate PAC go to any member of congress who objected to the Electoral College votes.”

“Going forward, our employee PACs will begin reviewing all multi-candidate PAC contributions for consistency with the policy on individual campaign contributions,” the spokesperson said.

Insider could not immediately confirm whether AT&T’s PAC was aware of Rep. Johnson’s connection to the House Conservative Fund when it made the contribution or when the PAC requested that the funds not benefit him or other objectors.

Cigna, which had said it would “discontinue support of any elected official who encouraged or supported violence, or otherwise hindered a peaceful transition of power,” continued that support just 22 days later by giving $15,000 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Legum reported. The NRSC is chaired by GOP Sen. Rick Scott of Florida, another election objector.

Cigna did not respond to requests for comment on this story.

Political Action Committees backed by S&P 500 companies gave more than $23 million to the 147 GOP election objectors during the most recent campaign cycles (2020 for House members; 2016 and 2018 for senators), according to an Insider analysis of Federal Election Commission data provided by the Center for Responsive Politics.

Critics, from activists to shareholders to other executives, have argued the contributions helped those lawmakers get elected and stay in power, giving them the platform they used to undermine voters’ faith in the election (which Trump’s former top cybersecurity official called “the most secure in American history“).

Read more: Democrats are plotting the death – and rebirth – of a hamstrung Federal Election Commission now that they’ll control the White House and both chambers of Congress

Following reporting from Popular Information and other media outlets, many companies began rethinking their political contributions.

Companies’ commitments varied widely, however.

Few have permanently blacklisted election objectors, and as Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez pointed out, the largest contributions typically happen right before, not after elections, leaving the door open for companies to resume their support once the public’s attention has turned elsewhere – an argument bolstered by AT&T and Cigna’s recent contributions.

Other companies paused all PAC contributions, potentially allowing them to benefit from the positive PR without having to explicitly condemn – or risk alienating – more than half of the Republicans in Congress.

Still, dozens issued public statements or internal memos announcing they would pause contributions while reevaluating how they use their money to influence politics.

Here’s a list of the S&P 500 companies – some of the largest and most influential businesses in the US – how much they gave to the 147 election objectors in the latest election cycles through their corporate PACs, and whether they’ve pulled (or resumed) their support.

Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that AT&T’s employee PAC had violated its policy, announced January 11, that it would “suspend contributions to members of Congress who voted to object to the certification of Electoral College votes,” by giving to a multi-candidate fund that includes such members. AT&T’s PAC did not adopt a policy to suspend contributions to multi-candidate groups, a spokesperson said.

Do you work for one of these companies and have information about how they’re responding to recent events? We’d love to hear how they’re navigating the current political landscape. Contact this reporter using a non-work device via encrypted messaging app Signal ( +1 503-319-3213 ), email (tsonnemaker@insider.com), or Twitter (@TylerSonnemaker ). We can keep sources anonymous. PR pitches by email only, please.

Read the original article on Business Insider

AT&T, Cigna abandon promises to stop financing Republicans who voted to overturn the election

Republican Sens. Ted Cruz (center) and Josh Hawley (top) led the GOP effort to challenge Electoral College votes on January 6, which was interrupted as Trump supporters attempted to violently overturn Biden's victory.
  • AT&T and Cigna have resumed funding GOP election objectors, Popular Information reported Friday.
  • Some companies paused PAC contributions after GOP efforts to overturn Biden’s victory led to violence.
  • Here’s how much each S&P 500 corporate PAC had given – and if they’ve paused or resumed contributions.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

AT&T and Cigna both gave money last month to groups overseen by Republican lawmakers who sought to overturn the US presidential election results in January, contradicting the companies’ earlier promises, Popular Information’s Jedd Legum reported Friday.

After violent pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol, interrupting the GOP’s last-ditch effort to invalidate states’ Electoral College results, companies faced intense public criticism over their financial support of the 147 Republican members of Congress who backed the effort.

Amid the backlash, dozens of major corporations said they would pause contributions and reevaluate how they determine which lawmakers to support.

Yet barely a month later, AT&T and Cigna have apparently determined that some of those lawmakers are once again deserving of support.

AT&T and Cigna did not respond to requests for comment on this story.

AT&T’s Political Action Committee (PAC), just 35 days after pausing contibutions to the 147 election objectors, gave $5,000 to the Republican Study Committee in February, according to Legum. Rep. Mike Johnson, a Republican from Louisiana who voted against certifying Electoral College results, sits on the RSC’s executive committee.

Cigna, which had said it would “discontinue support of any elected official who encouraged or supported violence, or otherwise hindered a peaceful transition of power,” continued that support just 22 days later by giving $15,000 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Legum reported. The NRSC is chaired by GOP Sen. Rick Scott of Florida, another election objector.

Political Action Committees backed by S&P 500 companies gave more than $23 million to the 147 GOP election objectors during the most recent campaign cycles (2020 for House members; 2016 and 2018 for senators), according to an Insider analysis of Federal Election Commission data provided by the Center for Responsive Politics.

Critics, from activists to shareholders to other executives, have argued the contributions helped those lawmakers get elected and stay in power, giving them the platform they used to undermine voters’ faith in the election (which Trump’s former top cybersecurity official called “the most secure in American history“).

Read more: Democrats are plotting the death – and rebirth – of a hamstrung Federal Election Commission now that they’ll control the White House and both chambers of Congress

Following reporting from Popular Information and other media outlets, many companies began rethinking their political contributions.

Companies’ commitments varied widely, however.

Few have permanently blacklisted election objectors, and as Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez pointed out, the largest contributions typically happen right before, not after elections, leaving the door open for companies to resume their support once the public’s attention has turned elsewhere – an argument bolstered by AT&T and Cigna’s recent contributions.

Other companies paused all PAC contributions, potentially allowing them to benefit from the positive PR without having to explicitly condemn – or risk alienating – more than half of the Republicans in Congress.

Still, dozens issued public statements or internal memos announcing they would pause contributions while reevaluating how they use their money to influence politics.

Here’s a list of the S&P 500 companies – some of the largest and most influential businesses in the US – how much they gave to the 147 election objectors in the latest election cycles through their corporate PACs, and whether they’ve pulled (or resumed) their support.

Do you work for one of these companies and have information about how they’re responding to recent events? We’d love to hear how they’re navigating the current political landscape. Contact this reporter using a non-work device via encrypted messaging app Signal ( +1 503-319-3213 ), email (tsonnemaker@insider.com), or Twitter (@TylerSonnemaker ). We can keep sources anonymous. PR pitches by email only, please.

Read the original article on Business Insider

After Trump’s election loss, Republicans across the US are racing to enact new voting restrictions

voting
Lin Wilson waves a US flag to encourage people to vote, outside the CenturyLink Field Event Center in Seattle on November 3, 2020.

  • In the wake of Biden’s win, Republicans across the US are rolling out new voting restrictions.
  • Republican leaders contend that the proposals are about maintaining voter integrity, though fraud is a rare occurrence.
  • Here are some of the voting proposals that are being debated across the country.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

President Joe Biden has been in office for less than two weeks, but in state legislatures across the US, Republicans still reeling from former President Donald Trump’s electoral loss are devising ways to restrict the vote, from eliminating ballot drop boxes to requiring the notarization of absentee ballot applications.

In 2010, Republicans made historic gains in state legislatures, flipping 24 chambers that year, allowing them to control the redistricting process for the past decade. In additional drawing scores of safe GOP House seats, the party pushed a wave of socially-conservative legislation that centered on restricting abortion rights and minimizing the collective bargaining power of public-sector labor unions.

While Biden and Trump both won 25 states in the 2020 presidential election, Biden flipped five states that Trump carried in 2016, which included Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin, along with Nebraska’s 2nd congressional district.

These presidential swing states are now home to some of the most dramatic election-related proposals that have been floated or filed in the legislature for a vote. However, even in states where Trump won easily, including Mississippi and Texas, voting restrictions stand a good chance of passing.

According to the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University, 106 bills aimed at restricting voting access have been introduced or filed in state legislatures in 28 states, representing a nearly threefold increase from the same period last year.

The proposed laws ignore the overwhelming evidence that voter fraud is incredibly rare.

Last November, countering Trump’s debunked claims of voter irregularities, the Department of Homeland Security said in a statement that the November 2020 election “was the most secure in American history.”

Here are some of the voting proposals that are being debated across the country:

Arizona

Since 1952, Republicans have won Arizona in every presidential election except for Bill Clinton’s 1992 win and Biden’s victory last year.

Biden won the state by less than 11,000 votes out of roughly 3.3 million votes cast, performing strongly with Latino voters and even making inroads with a segment of the state’s Republican voters.

With the support of high-profile Republicans including Cindy McCain, the wife of the late GOP Sen. John McCain, and former Sen. Jeff Flake, Biden tapped into the independent-minded nature of the state, similar to the campaign strategy of Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly, who defeated appointed GOP Sen. Martha McSally last November.

Read more: Trump tested the Constitution and shredded traditions. Biden and the Democrats have big plans of their own about what to do next.

However, conservative activists vigorously challenged the election results, including Trump, who criticized GOP Gov. Doug Ducey for certifying the election results, a normally-routine process. Since the GOP controls the state legislature in Arizona, the raft of restrictive bills are being taken up in committees.

According to The Arizona Republic, Republican legislators have proposed bills that would:

  • Allow the legislature to void the results of a presidential election “at any time before the presidential inauguration”
  • Give the legislature the power to award two of the state’s 11 Electoral College votes
  • Award the state’s electoral votes by congressional district in lieu of the current winner-takes-all system
  • Curtail and/or end mail-in voting
  • Liming mail-in voting to those who cannot physically reach a voting precinct
  • Limit voting centers in each county according to the population size
  • Require mail-in ballot envelopes to be notarized or returned in-person

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, was sharply critical of House Bill 2720, which was introduced by GOP state Rep. Shawnna Bolick and would allow the legislature to overturn the election results.

“It is a punch in the face to voters,” she said in an NBC News interview. “It absolutely, 100%, allows a legislature to undermine the will of voters.”

She also tweeted: “So really, we should just get rid of the presidential election altogether? In reality, that’s what this bill would do.”

Georgia

Georgia was the scene of deep political consternation for the GOP. Last November, Biden became the first Democratic presidential nominee to win the state since 1992. Trump insisted that he won the state for months, asking GOP Gov. Brian Kemp to overturn the election results and even pressuring GOP Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” the 12,000 roughly votes that he would need to overcome Biden’s margin of victory.

In the end, Trump caused so much internal political turmoil in the state that Democrats, fresh off of Biden’s win, had an enthusiasm advantage for two Senate runoff elections that featured then-GOP Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue running against Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, respectively.

Georgia runoffs
Democrat Raphael Warnock addresses supporters during a rally with Jon Ossoff in Atlanta on the first day of early voting in the Georgia Senate runoff elections.

Warnock and Ossoff won their races, handing control of the Senate to the Democrats and giving the party their strongest anchor in the Deep South in years.

Georgia Republicans, stung by the losses, are now hoping to implement additional voting restrictions.

Top state officials, including Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, are backing a more rigorous voter identification process for absentee balloting.

A GOP lawmaker has proposed a bill that would require proof of identification, twice, in order to vote absentee.

Last year, House Speaker David Ralston floated stripping Georgia voters of their ability to choose the secretary of state by putting a measure on the ballot that would allow voters to cede that responsibility to the GOP-controlled legislature.

Michigan

Michigan voted for every Democratic presidential nominee from 1992 to 2012. When Trump pulled off a narrow upset in 2016, Democrats pledged to outwork the GOP and win back the Midwestern state and its 16 electoral votes.

In 2018, the party had a banner year, electing Gretchen Whitmer as governor, Dana Nessel as attorney general, and Jocelyn Benson as secretary of state.

Last November, Biden won the state by over 150,000 votes and a nearly 3% margin (50.6%-47.8%), securing a victory in a state that Democrats were thrilled to put back in their column.

The state legislature is still in GOP hands, a lingering result of the party’s 2010 midterm election sweep, but Whitmer also serves as a check on any far-reaching proposals.

Michigan GOP Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey told The Detroit News that he would like to improve the state’s qualified voter files and party leaders, including home state Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel, said last year that the state needed “election reform.”

Pennsylvania

With its 20 electoral votes, Pennsylvania has long been a top prize for Democrats, who won the state by combining overwhelming victories in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh with growing suburban strength and blue-collar support in cities like Allentown and Scranton.

Democrats won Pennsylvania in every presidential election from 1992 to 2012, but similar to Michigan, Trump pulled off a narrow upset in 2016.

Biden, who was born in Scranton and represented neighboring Delaware in the Senate for 36 years, won the state 50%-49% over Trump last November.

Democrats, eager to build on Biden’s victory, have already zeroed in on the Senate seat being vacated by GOP Sen. Pat Toomey in 2022 and the governor’s race to succeed term-limited Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf that same year.

However, Republicans, who repeatedly sought to overturn the 2020 election results, including tossing out millions of mail-in ballots, are steadfastly committed to imposing new restrictions.

There are currently GOP proposals on the table to nix no-excuse absentee balloting and make it easier for state officials to toss ballots that have a signature mismatch if the ballot isn’t fixed within six days of being notified, according to the Brennan Center.

Wisconsin

Wisconsin is another key state in the Democrats’ Midwestern presidential electoral puzzle. After narrow wins in 2000 and 2004, the party won the state easily in 2008 and 2012 before seeing Trump narrowly win the state in 2016.

Gretchen Whitmer
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is pictured on October 16, 2020.

After a hard-fought race, Biden won the state over Trump by roughly 20,000 votes out of more than 3.2 million votes cast.

Read more: Trump tested the Constitution and shredded traditions. Biden and the Democrats have big plans of their own about what to do next.

The Trump campaign, incensed that votes in Democratic-leaning Milwaukee County put Biden over the top, demanded a recount in Milwaukee and Dane County, home of Madison, the state’s liberal capital city. Not only was Biden’s win reaffirmed by the recounts, but he picked up additional votes.

A GOP legislator is floating a proposal to allocate eight of the state’s 10 electoral votes by congressional district, starting with the 2024 election, and the party may also seek additional restrictions on absentee balloting.

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers has the ability to wield his veto pen, but he is also up for reelection in 2022.

Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District

Last year, Biden carried Nebraska’s Omaha-based congressional district, the first time a Democrat had won the district since Barack Obama in 2008.

The win was a breakthrough for the party in the otherwise overwhelmingly Republican state.

Since 1991, Nebraska has awarded two electoral votes to the overall statewide winner, with the remaining three votes awarded to the winner of each congressional district.

In 2020, Trump secured four electoral votes to Biden’s one electoral vote.

A new GOP bill introduced in the state legislature would put into place a winner-takes-all system; if it had been in place in 2020, Trump would have won all five electoral votes.

The 2nd congressional district contains sizeable Black and Latino populations, and opponents of the bill argue that the legislation would be detrimental to minority voters.

American Civil Liberties Union Nebraska executive director Danielle Conrad said as much in an interview with ABC News.

“You see very clearly that there was a lot of excitement particularly from voters of color in the Omaha metro-area who engage in that process over the last few election cycles because they had that meaningful opportunity,” she said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Rep. Madison Cawthorn, who sought to overturn Biden’s win, admits that the election ‘was not fraudulent’ on CNN

Brown Cawthorn
CNN’s Pamela Brown, left, interviews Rep. Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina.

  • GOP Rep. Madison Cawthorn’s longstanding claims of voter fraud collapsed on Saturday.
  • Cawthorn maintained that he contested the election “to hold up the Constitution.”
  • When pressed by CNN’s Pamela Brown to cite specific cases of fraud, Cawthorn was unable to do so.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

GOP Rep. Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina came into office pledging to contest President Joe Biden’s electoral win.

Throughout the evening of the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riots, Cawthorn continued to challenge the election results for both Arizona and Pennsylvania, emphasizing his focus on election integrity and the Constitution.

However, during a Saturday interview with CNN’s Pamela Brown, his argument for contesting the results fell apart.

When Cawthorn was asked by Brown for evidence supporting claims of voter fraud, he was unable to cite any specific cases.

“The things that I was not objecting to the election on behalf of was things like Dominion voting machines changing ballots, or these U-Haul trucks pulling up filled with ballots for Joe Biden as president,” he said.

“The thing I was objecting for is things like, like I said in the state of Wisconsin, particularly in the town of Madison … there was an appointed official in that town who actually went against the will of the state legislature and created ballot drop boxes, which is basically ballot harvesting that was happening in the parks,” he continued.

 

Brown reminded the 25-year-old freshman congressman that then-President Donald Trump’s campaign litigated several Wisconsin ballot issues and lost in court

When Brown asked if Cawthorn had seen any specific cases of fraud, he could not come up with an answer.

“So you wanted to throw out millions of votes without actually seeing any concrete evidence of fraud?” Brown asked. “That’s what you were doing when you were contesting the election.”

Cawthorn then said that he contested the election “to hold up the Constitution.”

After Brown told Cawthorn that his own state changed election laws in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which was a core part of his earlier argument, he said he was unaware that North Carolina changed any laws.

Read more: Trump tested the Constitution and shredded traditions. Biden and the Democrats have big plans of their own about what to do next.

“I’m actually not aware of the laws that were changed inside of North Carolina,” he said. “I believe we had a very safe and very secure election here.”

Trump won North Carolina last November.

Biden won Arizona and Pennsylvania – states where Cawthorn fought the vote certification. He was unable to formally challenge Wisconsin’s results because no senator stepped up to contest the results for the state, which Biden won.

By the end of the interview, Cawthorn’s earlier claims of fraud disappeared into thin air.

“Yes, I think I would say the election was not fraudulent,” he admitted to Brown.

He added: “The Constitution allowed for us to be able to push back as much as we could and I did that to the amount of the constitutional limits that I had at my disposal, so now I would say that Joseph R. Biden is our president.”

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Corporate America is pausing its financial support for the 147 GOP lawmakers who challenged Biden’s victory. Here are all the S&P 500 companies who gave them money – and then stopped.

Republican Sens. Ted Cruz (center) and Josh Hawley (top) led the GOP effort to challenge Electoral College votes on January 6, which was interrupted as Trump supporters attempted to violently overturn Biden's victory.
  • S&P 500 companies gave $23 million to the 147 GOP lawmakers who contested Electoral College results.
  • After GOP efforts to overturn Biden’s victory led to violence, some companies paused their support.
  • Here’s a list of how much each corporate PAC had given and whether they’ve paused contributions.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

On January 6, Congress convened a joint session to formally certify President Joseph Biden’s Electoral College victory, but it was quickly interrupted by a group of Republican objectors who argued, based on little more than conspiracy theories, that Congress shouldn’t proceed because there had been widespread election fraud.

In total, 147 Republicans – roughly 55% of the GOP lawmakers in Congress – objected to certifying the results of at least one state’s Electoral College vote.

But that long-shot effort to overturn democratic election results was itself interrupted by pro-Trump rioters who – citing the same election fraud conspiracies – stormed the US Capitol building in an attempt to violently keep Trump in power, forcing members of Congress to evacuate, leaving five dead and dozens injured.

In the wake of the failed insurrection, corporate America found itself facing backlash for its extensive financial support of Trump and the lawmakers whose repeated amplification of election fraud conspiracies helped fuel the violence.

Political Action Committees backed by S&P 500 companies gave more than $23 million to the 147 GOP election objectors during the most recent campaign cycles (2020 for House members; 2016 and 2018 for senators), according to an Insider analysis of Federal Election Commission data provided by the Center for Responsive Politics.

Critics, from activists to shareholders to other executives, have argued the contributions helped those lawmakers get elected and stay in power, giving them the platform they used to undermine voters’ faith in the election (which Trump’s former top cybersecurity official called “the most secure in American history“).

Read more: Democrats are plotting the death – and rebirth – of a hamstrung Federal Election Commission now that they’ll control the White House and both chambers of Congress

But following reporting from Popular Information and other media outlets, many companies began rethinking their political contributions.

Companies’ commitments have varied widely, however.

Few have permanently blacklisted election objectors, and as Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez pointed out, the largest contributions typically happen right before, not after elections, leaving the door open for companies to resume their support once the public’s attention has turned elsewhere. Others have paused all PAC contributions, potentially allowing them to benefit from the positive PR without having to explicitly condemn – or risk alienating – more than half of the Republicans in Congress.

Still, dozens have issued public statements or internal memos announcing they will at least pause contributions while they reevaluate how they use their money to influence politics.

Here’s a list of the S&P 500 companies – some of the largest and most influential businesses in the US – how much they gave to the 147 election objectors in the latest election cycles through their corporate PACs, and whether they’ve pulled their support.

Do you work for one of these companies and have information about how they’re responding to recent events? We’d love to hear how they’re navigating the current political landscape. Contact this reporter using a non-work device via encrypted messaging app Signal ( +1 503-319-3213 ), email (tsonnemaker@insider.com), or Twitter (@TylerSonnemaker ). We can keep sources anonymous. PR pitches by email only, please. 

 

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‘I don’t know how you can live with yourself’: Joe Manchin slams Sens. Hawley and Cruz, who continued with election challenges after the Capitol riots

Hawley Cruz
GOP Sens. Josh Hawley of Missouri, left, and Ted Cruz of Texas, right, speak after Republicans objected to certifying the Electoral College votes from Arizona during a joint session of Congress on January 6, 2020.

  • 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.
  • “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.”
  • Sens. Hawley and Cruz, who have long been seen as likely 2024 GOP presidential candidates, have faced a flurry of calls to resign since the riots.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

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.

Read more: Secret Service experts are speculating in group chats about how Trump might be hauled out of the White House if he won’t budge on Inauguration Day

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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