WASHINGTON — Texas U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert is standing by his Tuesday vote as one of only five Republicans opposing a House resolution to affirm the chamber’s support for a peaceful transfer of power after President Trump last week declined to commit to it if he loses reelection.
The Republican-controlled Senate passed a nearly identical resolution by unanimous consent last Thursday, but Gohmert said he couldn’t support the legislation because it “singles out” Trump in the presidential race against Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
“This bill on which I voted ‘No’ is nothing more than a means to attack President Trump, though he has made clear he will support a peaceful transition to the legally winning party after the election,” Gohmert said in a statement Wednesday morning.
The resolution does not mention either presidential candidate by name and affirms the House’s commitment that there will be “no disruptions by the President or any person in power to overturn the will of the people of the United States” following the Nov. 3 election. During the floor debate Tuesday evening, Gohmert said he supports a peaceful transition and unsuccessfully sought to amend the bill to include “or any candidate or anyone acting on a candidate’s behalf.”
Reps. Matt Gaetz, of Florida, Clay Higgins, of Louisiana, Steve King, of Iowa, and Thomas Massie, of Kentucky, joined the Tyler Republican in voting against the resolution. The measure was adopted in a bipartisan 397-5 vote.
“I know my colleagues on the other side have their own suspicions about what the motive is behind this and want to project onto it something that’s not in the language. But this was passed by 100 senators last week,” said Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif. and the author of the resolution.
The votes from the House and the Senate came after Trump said he would “see what happens” when asked at a press conference last Wednesday if he would commit to a peaceful transition of power following the election. Trump reaffirmed that position during the first presidential debate Tuesday, claiming the election will be “a fraud like you’ve never seen.”
Without evidence, Trump has claimed for months that the rise in mail-in voting due to the coronavirus pandemic will defraud the election in favor of Biden.
“Get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a very peaceful — there won’t be a transfer, frankly. There will be a continuation,” Trump said last week.
Lawmakers in both parties have countered Trump’s remarks in the days since.
“The winner of the November 3rd election will be inaugurated on January 20th. There will be an orderly transition just as there has been every four years since 1792,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
When asked about the controversy during a news conference last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters, “we want a peaceful transfer of power. It’s very sad that you even have to ask that question.”
Due to the pandemic, results are unlikely to be clear for weeks following Election Day as the huge influx of mail-in ballots are counted.
CNN reported Monday that Democrats are preparing for a scenario in which Trump would attempt to disrupt the election following months of statements he has made expressing doubts about the process.
But Gohmert placed the blame for the Election Day uncertainty squarely on the Democratic Party.
“We have no reason to believe Democrats would not dispute yet another election outcome, as some of their top operatives have said, so other “candidates” should have been mentioned in the resolution,” he said.