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GOP senator will try to overturn election because Twitter fact-checked Trump

Sen. Josh Hawley plans to object to the Electoral College vote count.

By Josh Israel - December 30, 2020
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Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO)

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) announced Wednesday that he plans to object to the Electoral College count next week, arguing that social media companies had been unfairly mean to Donald Trump during the election.

In a statement, Hawley said that he will “object during the certification process on January 6” to raise “critical issues.” On that date, a joint session of Congress will formally count the Electoral College results, certifying Joe Biden as the president-elect.

“I cannot vote to certify electoral college results on January 6 without raising the fact that some states, particularly Pennsylvania, failed to follow their own state election laws,” Hawley wrote. “And I cannot vote to certify without pointing out the unprecedented effort by mega corporations, including Facebook and Twitter, to interfere in this election, in support of Joe Biden.”

Under the law, if at least one member of the House of Representatives and at least one senator formally object to a state’s electoral votes, they can force a two-hour closed debate and a vote on whether to accept that state’s Electoral College result. With a Democratic majority in the House and a majority of senators acknowledging Biden’s victory, such an effort could delay the process but would likely do nothing to overturn the 2020 results.

Several House Republicans — led by Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) and encouraged by Trump — have said they will use the process in a last-ditch effort to install the man who lost popular vote by more than 7 million votes and Electoral College vote by a margin Trump described as a “landslide” in 2016.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reportedly begged his caucus not to join those efforts, suggesting it would lead to a “terrible vote” for Republicans forced to choose between alienating Trump and his supporters and doing their constitutional duty.

Hawley’s statement makes no suggestion that he actually believes Trump was the rightful victor.

The Missouri senator has been an outspoken critic of large tech companies, however, falsely claiming they are biased against conservatives. Before the election, he accused Facebook and Twitter of “active suppression of public speech” after the company restricted sharing of an unproven New York Post story about Hunter Biden.

There is no proof to back that assertion, which has been repeatedly debunked.

In the final days of the campaign, the companies repeatedly fact-checked Donald Trump’s many false claims about the election. Trump slammed these disclaimers as “out of control” and pushed to punish them by taking away legal liability protections for tech companies.

But even if those companies were unfair to Trump, it would not be grounds under the law or the Constitution, for the results to be overturned. Moreover, many say the fact-checks didn’t do much of anything to stop Trump’s messaging machine.

“We repeatedly flag offenders that nevertheless seem to prosper and continue to do ads,” one Facebook fact-checking partner told the Washington Post in November, specifically citing pro-Trump campaigns on social media.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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