Most of the Republicans who will represent Iowa in Congress next year are on record saying Joe Biden will be president of the United States.
But none have stated publicly that Biden legitimately won every state that cast its electoral votes for him on December 14.
With President Donald Trump and many of his supporters spreading false allegations of election fraud every day, it’s critically important for Republicans to state unambiguously that Biden won both the national popular vote and more votes than Trump in states that account for 306 electoral votes. Few prominent Iowa Republicans are up to that task.
After Biden received more than enough electoral votes to win, Siobhan Hughes of the Wall Street Journal asked Senator Chuck Grassley, “Is it time to acknowledge Biden as president-elect?” Grassley dodged: “I don’t have to – the Constitution does.”
Hughes followed up: “And do you acknowledge him as president-elect?” Grassley replied, “I follow the Constitution.”
The senator later told Iowa reporters, “The Electoral College met and voted according to our constitutional process.”
So does he acknowledge Biden was elected president? “Under the Constitution, that was decided by the Electoral College,” Grassley said.
Senator Joni Ernst took a similar stance, Stephen Gruber-Miller reported for the Des Moines Register.
“Like it or not, I know for Iowans it’s disappointing. But the process is what it is and the Constitution will be followed,” she told reporters on Capitol Hill on Monday.
Asked if that means Biden is the president-elect, Ernst said, “if that’s what the Electoral College decides today.”
Representative-elect Ashley Hinson of the first Congressional district is staking out the same territory.
“Given the status of the campaign’s legal challenges, and with presidential electors officially casting over 270 votes for Vice President Biden, it is clear he is going to be sworn in as our next president,” Hinson said in a statement. “While Joe Biden and I disagree on many issues, I know we can find common ground and work together to better the lives of Iowans and all Americans.”
[Caroline] Cummings: Switching to politics here, did Donald Trump lose the election?
Miller-Meeks: Well, I think that he is still going through the legal process as my opponent is going through, but I think that all transition services should be available to President-elect Biden, that at this point in time the way that the courts have ruled and the Electoral College votes have gone, President-elect Biden will be assuming office. But I do think that just as my opponent is going through all maneuvers, even though they jumped over the Iowa courts, I think the President, President Trump should go through all the legal options that are available to him as well.
Asked last week whether he would encourage Trump to concede after the electoral college votes, Grassley told reporters in Washington, “Trump’s going to do what Trump is going to do. That’s the only answer I’m going to give you.”
CNN’s Manu Raju reported on December 9 on how Ernst answered the same question: “We want to make sure every legal vote is counted. I think that’s really, really important. I think that’s what the President wants.”
Such cop-outs are not good enough, when Trump is relentlessly trying to undermine public confidence in the electoral process. Republicans need to say out loud not only that Biden won the electoral college, but won it legitimately.
David Chung, a Trump elector from Iowa’s first Congressional district, showed how it’s done. According to Cedar Rapids Gazette columnist Adam Sullivan, Chung posted on Facebook this morning,
“Yes, I am a Trump elector. No, I do not think our electoral system is broken. Yes, I think there is room for reform. No, I do not believe that Biden ‘stole the election.’”
More like that, please.
P.S. Representative-elect Randy Feenstra of Iowa’s fourth Congressional district has not publicly acknowledged that Biden will be president, to my knowledge. Nor has Secretary of State Paul Pate, WHO-TV’s Justin Surrency reported on December 14.
Pate isn’t ready to call Biden “president-elect” just yet. “I think it is a process and you have to let it work itself through. The last thing you want is for Americans to feel short-changed on their vote, so I believe let the process work itself through just as we did in Iowa,” Pate said. […]
“I think the system is working. The courts are there for a reason and Congress is there for a reason and I just ask the people to be patient,” Pate said.
Pate’s more worried about protecting his right flank than defending his colleagues who presided over free and fair elections. He would be outraged if the president and his minions were wrongly accusing him of incompetence or fraud. And as former Iowa GOP co-chair Bill Schickel wrote in a recent Des Moines Register guest editorial,
Unfortunately, if Trump had not won Iowa, our election officials would be in for the same withering assault and arm twisting that only states he lost are experiencing. […]
If this behavior is accepted as normal, what is to prevent future candidates and presidents from doing the same, further eroding confidence in democracy itself?
UPDATE: Feenstra told Doug Burns of the Carroll Times Herald that he’s “really excited” about Tom Vilsack being nominated to lead the U.S. Department of Agriculture. So indirectly, Feenstra has acknowledged that Biden will be sworn in as president.