U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz is photographed inside the Rayburn House Office Building Feb. 27, 2019. Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images
A dozen Republican lawmakers representing Florida in the U.S. House of Representatives voted against certifying Electoral College votes for President-elect Joe Biden, notwithstanding the riot at the Capitol on Wednesday that disrupted a joint session in Congress.
Two Republican representatives from Florida voted against objections filed against results from Arizona and Pennsylvania — Vern Buchanan of Sarasota and Michael Waltz of St. Augustine Beach. Democrats in the delegation voted to certify, although Democrat Alcee Hastings and GOPer Gus Bilirakis missed both votes.
Sens. Rick Scott and Marco Rubio of Florida, both Republicans, voted no to an objection to Arizona’s electoral votes being cast for Biden. But they were split on electoral votes from Pennsylvania, with Scott voting in favor of an objection and Rubio against it.
Buchanan cited rioters who wreaked havoc by breaking windows and storming offices and hallways in the U.S. Capitol while police were seen with guns drawn.
“Millions of Americans expressed legitimate concern over voting procedures that were changed by several states. These voters, many in my district, certainly had good reason to be alarmed and concerned,” Buchanan said in a written statement posted on Twitter.
“But after witnessing the sad spectacle that occurred today, I voted to certify the results of the Electoral College because it’s time to move past this election.”
Trump and his allies have complained of election irregularities but courts have rejected such allegations as unfounded dozens of times.
U.S. Rep. Byron Donalds, a Naples Republican, remained in opposition to certifying votes even after witnessing the violence.
“The people who invaded Capitol Hill today do not embody my constituents’ values and heart, and they will not alter my decision to object to the Electoral College certification,” he said in a tweet Wednesday.
Donalds, who is a Black man, responded via Twitter to a CNN commentator who criticized him for attempting to block a Black woman — Vice President-elect Kamala Harris — from taking office.
“I don’t vote based on my skin; I do so in allegiance to our Constitution & to always follow the Rule of Law. Blue checkmarks live to delegitimize my right as a free Black man to act, think, & vote based on my convictions rather than skin color,” he tweeted Wednesday morning.
“Also, it’s Congressman to you.”
U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, a fierce Trump supporter, sent a series of tweets in support of the objections to certifying votes and defended the president by saying Trump “explicitly called for demonstrations and protests to be peaceful.”
Gaetz said in a tweet: “He [Trump] was far more explicit about his calls for peace than some of the BLM and left-wing rioters were this summer when we saw violence sweep across this nation.”
Gaetz, a Fort Walton Beach Republican, continued to push baseless claims of voter fraud.
“This election saw an unprecedented amount of votes that could not be authenticated with true ID, true signature matches, and with true confidence for the American people,” he said via Twitter.
In a floor speech, Gaetz even suggested some of the rioters were “masquerading as Trump supporters and, in fact, were members of the violent terrorist group antifa.”
U.S. Rep Neal Dunn, a Republican from Panama City, condemned the violence at the Capitol but stood in favor of an objection.
“I absolutely do not condone the behavior of the protestors who have breached security and broken the law. While I will still contest the electoral college results today, I will do so in a peaceful and lawful way,” Dunn said in a tweet Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Florida Democrats slammed those Florida Republicans in Congress who attempted to contest the Electoral College votes even after witnessing the tragedy.
State Sen. Lori Berman, a Democrat representing part of Palm Beach County, said in an email to the Florida Phoenix:
“Yesterday, the nation watched in horror as our temple of democracy was sieged and vandalized by an insurrectionist, violent pro-Trump mob. The president summoned them to Washington, D.C., misled them to believe their cause was just, and set them upon our duly elected government to disrupt its constitutional duty of counting electors.
“It was nothing short of a coup attempt. But the president had help. When the Capitol was secured, a majority of Florida Republicans shamefully voted to decertify the election results in Arizona and Pennsylvania, furthering the madness that brought us to this moment. Their votes represent a subversion of democracy and the will of the American people, unsupported by facts and our nation’s laws. History will note their shame.”
Terrie Rizzo, chair of the Florida Democratic Party, called the votes “despicable.”
“Yesterday we saw a violent insurrection at the Capitol incited by President Trump and led by his supporters who believe the election was stolen from them. This is a conspiracy theory — full stop. Joe Biden is the president-elect and he won in a free and fair election,” Rizzo said in a written statement.
“And yet even after this desecration of the Capitol that put the lives of our Congress members and staff at risk, 12 of the congressional leaders from Florida voted to invalidate election results from swing states where they didn’t like the outcomes.”
Here is the list of Florida Republicans in the House voted yes to an objection:
Matt Gaetz, Fort Walton Beach; Byron Donalds, Naples; Kat Cammack, Gainesville; Mario Diaz-Balart, Miami; Neal Dunn, Panama City; Scott Franklin, Lakeland; Carlos Giménez, Miami: Brian Mast, Palm City; Bill Posey, Rockledge; John Rutherford, Jacksonville; Greg Steube, Sarasota; and Daniel Webster, Clermont.
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