'Egregious Ploy': Romney and Other GOP Senators Slam Plan to Challenge Electoral Votes

Senator Mitt Romney of Utah joined two other Republicans in the upper chamber to denounce the GOP effort to challenge the Electoral College certification of President-elect Joe Biden's win on January 6, unless an audit of the results is conducted.

A coalition of 11 Republican senators on Saturday announced its intention to oppose Congress certifying the Electoral College vote on Wednesday. The group, led by Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, vowed to "reject the electors from disputed states as not 'regularly given' and 'lawfully certified' ... unless and until that emergency 10-day audit is completed."

In a statement following the announcement, Romney strongly criticized those Republicans opposing the election results.

"The egregious ploy to reject electors may enhance the political ambition of some, but dangerously threatens our Democratic Republic," he said. "The congressional power to reject electors is reserved for the most extreme and unusual circumstances. These are far from it."

Mitt Romney with bipartisan group of lawmakers
Senator Mitt Romney of Utah pushes for a bipartisan stimulus deal in Congress on December 14, 2020. Tasos Katopodis/Getty

Besides Cruz, the Republicans in the group include Ron Johnson of Wisconsin; James Lankford of Oklahoma; Steve Daines of Montana; John Kennedy of Louisiana; Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee; and Mike Braun of Indiana. Senators-elect Tommy Tuberville of Alabama, Roger Marshall of Kansas; Bill Hagerty of Tennessee; and Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming were also part of the movement.

Romney disputed Cruz and the group's argument that rejecting the electors or an audit would restore trust in the election process.

"Nonsense," he said. "This argument ignores the widely perceived reality that Congress is an overwhelmingly partisan body; the American people wisely place greater trust in the federal courts where judges serve for life."

He also reminded his fellow Republicans that President Donald Trump's aggressive efforts to overturn the election has "failed" in the courts.

"I could never have imagined seeing these things in the greatest democracy in the world. Has ambition so eclipsed principle?" Romney added.

The Utah senator's remarks came shortly after Republican Senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania joined Democratic lawmakers in condemning the coalition's efforts.

"I will vote to affirm the 2020 presidential election. The courts and state legislatures have all honored their duty to hear legal allegations and have found nothing to warrant overturning the results. I urge my colleagues from both parties to recognize this and to join me in maintaining confidence in the Electoral College and our elections so that we ensure we have the continued trust of the American people," Murkowski said in a statement.

Toomey said the group seeks to "disenfranchise millions of voters in my state and others."

"A fundamental, defining feature of a democratic republic is the right of people to elect their own leaders," he explained in a statement. "The effort by Senators Hawley, Cruz, and others to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in swing states like Pennsylvania directly undermines this right."

The group of 11 Republicans is separate from Missouri Senator Josh Hawley's announcement on December 30 that he would challenge the certification.

Newsweek reached out to Cruz's office for comment.