Van Drew won’t certify Biden victory over Trump supporters being ‘mocked’
South Jersey congressman Jeff Van Drew says he will vote against certifying the vote of the Electoral College on Wednesday because of many unanswered questions about the election and the way supporters of President Donald Trump have been treated.
In an opinion piece on the conservative website SaveJersey.com, Van Drew said his objection is in response to a "litany of serious unanswered questions surrounding this election."
"My vote is also a rejection of the status quo and a no confidence vote in the politicians, corporate special interests, and legacy media establishment who continually mock Americans as naive, stupid, or conspiracy theorists for demanding answers to these important questions," Van Drew wrote.
Congress will meet in a constitutionally required joint session on Wednesday to open sealed certificates from each state that contain a record of their electoral votes, the final step toward confirming the election of Joe Biden as president.
Van Drew last month told WPG host Harry Hurley during a Fox Radio interview that he would join an effort to vote against certifying the vote.
Van Drew also wrote that Democrats have unsuccessfully tried challenging the elections of George Bush in 2001 and 2005 and of Trump in 2017.
During the 2001 vote, Vice President Al Gore had to preside over the vote on an election that he lost. According to the New York Times' coverage, a dozen members of the Congressional Black Caucus claimed Black voters in Florida had been disenfranchised and tried to block the certification of the 25 electoral votes.
After being gaveled to order by Gore when no senators joined the challenge, the members then left the chamber as some Democrats applauded, according to the Times.
When Bush won re-election in 2004 over John Kerry, two Democrats, U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer and U.S. Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, unsuccessfully challenged the Electoral College vote claiming voter irregularities, according to the Times coverage.
Biden in 2017 presided over an unsuccessful challenge to the Electoral College by six House members who voiced objections over concerns about voter suppression and fear of a Trump presidency would mean, according to the Times. Biden banged the gavel when the members were not joined by any senators and at one point said, "it is over."
But unlike today, those previous challenges did not feature the sitting president of the United States making what so far has proven to be unfounded allegations about the election being stolen from him.
In Trump's case, numerous courts — including the Supreme Court, which has a conservative majority with three justices appointed by Trump — have repeatedly shot down legal efforts by the Trump campaign and Republican officials to challenge the election results in the swing states that Biden won. In some cases, judges have noted the lack of any credible evidence to bolster the cheating claims.
Van Drew's piece was posted before President Donald Trump's conversation with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Saturday. On a recording of the call, which was released publicly on Sunday by The Washington Post, the president falsely claims he won the November presidential election and asks the Republican state official to "find 11,780 votes."
Georgia counted its votes three times before certifying Biden's win by a 11,779 margin, Raffensperger reminds Trump on the call.
“President Trump, we’ve had several lawsuits, and we’ve had to respond in court to the lawsuits and the contentions," he says on the call. "We don’t agree that you have won."
Gov. Phil Murphy on Monday took several minutes during his COVID-19 briefing to slam the Republicans who sided with Trump's conspiratorial crusade, Van Drew in particular.
“It pains me in particular to see one of our own reps, Congressman Jeff Van Drew, cynically siding with conspiracy theorists and throwing his fate in with the far right's disproven and crackpot theories. If that’s the legacy that Jeff wants, then I guess it is what it is," Murphy said.
The call led U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., N.J. 9th District, to repeat his November call for Trump and his "enablers" to be prosecuted "for their many crimes against the United States."
On his Facebook page, Pascrell specifically cited U.S. Code 20511, which calls for prosecution of anyone who "knowingly and willfully deprives, defrauds or attempts to deprive or defraud the residents of a state of a fair and impartially conducted election process by the procurement, casting or tabulation of ballots that are known by the person to be materially false, fictitious or fraudulent under the laws of the state in which the election is held."
U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J. 6th District, in a re-tweet of a Post story about the conversation, called Trump "a danger to our democracy."
"His blatant disregard for the Constitution, our electoral system and the millions of Americans who voted him out of office will forever be a stain on his Presidency," he wrote.
Van Drew's office did not respond to a request from New Jersey 101.5 on Monday morning for comment about Trump's conversation.
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Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ