With the Jan. 6 committee public hearings now underway in Washington, it’s a good time to remember which North Carolina politicians are believers of “The Big Lie” and tried to subvert democracy by refusing to certify President Joe Biden’s election victory.
For anyone who follows politics in our state, the names of the “Seditious Seven” should come as no surprise. The Republican representatives who have the shameful distinction of trying to tear apart the country in the aftermath of an attack on the U.S. Capitol by right-wing extremists include Rep. Ted Budd, Rep. Dan Bishop, Rep. Madison Cawthorn, Rep. Virginia Foxx, Rep. Richard Hudson, Rep. Greg Murphy and Rep. David Rouzer.
In all, 8 senators and 139 representatives – all Republicans – voted against certifying Arizona’s or Pennsylvania’s results (or both). The message those politicians made came across loud and clear – despite an attack on the Capitol that resulted in multiple deaths and injuries to police and rioters alike – dividing an already fractured country even more by refusing to admit the defeat of their party’s presidential candidate (despite no evidence to the contrary) was more important than doing the right and honorable thing.
Of the 10 Republicans representing North Carolina in Congress, Rep. Patrick McHenry and Sens. Thom Tillis and Richard Burr were the only three who didn’t vote against the certification of one or both states. McHenry voted against certifying Arizona but voted to certify Pennsylvania. Both senators voted to certify the election results, as they had pledged to before the Capitol attack.
None of the Seditious Seven actually had any legitimate reason to vote against certifying the election for Biden. In fact, ex-President Donald Trump and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency both called the 2020 election “the most secure in American history.”
Even Trump sycophant Bill Barr, and the ex-president’s hand-picked attorney general, called the idea that the election was stolen “bullshit.”
Barr told the Jan. 6 committee that he had three conversations with Trump about the election.
“I made it clear I did not agree with the idea of saying the election was stolen and putting out this stuff which I told the president was bullshit. I didn’t want to be a part of it and that’s one of the reasons I decided to leave when I did,” Barr said. “I observed, I think on Dec. 1, you can’t live in a world where the incumbent administration stays in power based on its view unsupported by specific evidence that there was fraud in the election.”
Keeping all that in mind, let’s take a look at the Seditious Seven’s reasoning for not certifying Biden’s win:
Budd, now known as “Tax Hike Ted” because of his support for raising taxes on 102 million Americans, claimed that there were “irregularities and Constitutional violations in the presidential election.”
In addition to his false statement, Budd was later a guest on The Todd Starnes Show on Aug. 20, 2021, and it was there that he said of the attack on the Capitol, “It was nothing. It was just patriots standing up.”
That statement should be enough to disqualify Budd, who is running for the U.S. Senate against Democrat Cheri Beasley, from being our next senator and that’s not even mentioning all of his other awful beliefs and policies.
Next up is Bishop, one of the House’s least-qualified members.
Bishop voted against certifying the election for President Joe Biden, accusing Democrats of “carr[ying] out a highly coordinated, massively financed, nationwide campaign to displace state regulation of absentee ballots by means of a flood of election-year litigation” and “weaken[ing] ballot security, undermin[ing] positive identification of voters, and provid[ing] opportunities for post-election ballot-box stuffing.”
Just like Budd, Bishop downplayed the significance of the Jan. 6 attack.
On the House floor, he called the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol that left five people dead “the worst example of an insurrection in the history of mankind.”
Moving on, we have the statewide embarrassment known as Madison Cawthorn. Thankfully, Cawthorn lost his primary and will no longer serve in Congress, though it’s doubtful Republican primary winner Chuck Edwards, should he win, will be any better.
On Jan. 7, 2021, Cawthorn spoke in the U.S. House of Representatives to explain his vote against accepting Biden as the winner of the election.
“The Constitution grants power solely to state legislatures to determine how elections are carried out. When other officials who are not vested with constitutional authority usurp their role and grind the Constitution under their heel, I must object,” he said.
In a statement, Foxx said, “When I made my decision to object, I did so out of an abiding respect for the Constitution…If there are clear violations to the Constitution, they must be examined, assessed, and a verdict must be rendered. Anything less is an abdication of the duties I swore an oath to uphold.”
Explaining her decision regarding Pennsylvania, she said she made her decision because of “the blatant contravention of state law that occurred.”
Hudson joined 36 other Republican members of Congress in issuing a long statement – before the attack – explaining why they planned to vote against certifying the Electoral College vote.
The statement said, in part, “we will vote to sustain objections to slates of electors submitted by states we believe clearly violated the Constitution in the presidential election of 2020.”
Other North Carolina Republicans including Murphy and Rouzer signed onto the statement, but both congressmen also sent out their own releases explaining their votes.
Rouzer put out a press release two days before the insurrection saying that he would “be among those objecting to the Electoral College votes for several states,” explaining that “there are widespread and grave concerns.”
Following the attack on the Capitol, Rouzer said the “lawlessness witnessed at the Capitol today is despicable and should be condemned in the strongest possible way” – and then voted against certifying the election for Biden.
Last but not least is Murphy. He, too, released a statement explaining his pending objection to the Electoral College certification before the Jan. 6 attack.
In Murphy’s Jan. 5, 2021, press release, he said that he would object to certain Electoral College votes the next day.
Murphy’s reasoning included his belief that “multiple states, some more egregiously than others, violated [Article II Section 1] of the Constitution” that says “state legislatures are charged with writing election laws, not executive officials and judges.”
The congressman said it was important to question “the irregularities” he saw.
Following the Capitol insurrection, Murphy released a statement where he condemned the attack and said he was “ashamed of this horrible behavior.” He then voted to undermine democracy, just as his six other friends from North Carolina did.
It’s important for North Carolina voters to remember that it’s not entirely clear what the Jan. 6 hearings will lead to as far as criminal referrals or charges go.
Committee Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said earlier this week that he wasn’t sure if any of the information gleaned from the hearings would be used as the basis for a criminal investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice or others.
Thompson’s statement was a bit of a departure from what he said earlier this year when he told NBC News that evidence the committee gathered last year could possibly be used by the DOJ in order to pursue criminal charges against ex-President Donald Trump or others who were involved in the attack.
“The potential for criminal referrals is there,” he said.
Regardless of what happens as a result of the Jan. 6 hearings, North Carolina voters have the power to make sure the six remaining seditionists at the very least lose their jobs – by voting them out of office this November.
For more information on the election and voting, visit the North Carolina State Board of Elections website.