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above: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell arrives for the Electoral College vote certification for President-elect Joe Biden, during a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., Jan. 6, 2021. (Kevin Dietsch/Pool via REUTERS)


The Cowardice of ‘Patriotic Courage’

That Donald Trump bothered to challenge the official outcome of the November 2020 election was an annoyance to a number of congressional Republicans, representatives and senators alike. Remarks issued on Jan. 6 by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell as the Senate was about to confirm the election of Joe Biden reflect these views:

We cannot simply declare ourselves a national board of elections on steroids. …We’ll either hasten down a poisonous path where only the winners of an election actually accept the results or show we can still muster the patriotic courage that our forebears showed, not only in victory, but in defeat.

Likewise, Republican Sens. Tom Cotton (Ark.), Ben Sasse (Neb.), and Pat Toomey (Pa.) all believed that bickering over or questioning the contest’s results would lead to a situation in which Americans would no longer trust their elections. Although those Republicans who accepted the results conceded Trump’s right to appeal his loss, they were also obviously relieved that the ensuing judicial challenges did not reverse the election outcome.

Such warnings against...

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