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North Carolina lawmakers in Washington contest elections results, condemn violence following riot at Capitol

By Natalie Anderson
natalie.anderson@salisburypost.com

WASHINGTON — Members of Congress were prepared to meet in a joint session on Wednesday to count Electoral College votes following the 2020 presidential election.

But a vote expected to involve several hours of debate due to of GOP lawmakers contesting those results was delayed after angry supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol, which resulted in at least one death, vandalism an evacuation of lawmakers.

Reps. Richard Hudson, a Republican who represented part of Rowan County until this week, and Ted Budd, a Republican whose district now covers all of Rowan County, were among the swath of GOP lawmakers prepared to contest the Electoral College votes across six states declaring Biden the winner of the 2020 presidential election.

In a statement over the weekend, Hudson announced he would join a number of GOP House members and handful of incoming and sitting Republican senators, led by Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, to object Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election.

“The American people need to have confidence in the integrity of our election process,” Hudson said. “Currently, millions of people do not trust the outcome of this presidential election because there is incontrovertible evidence of voter irregularity — if not outright fraud — in multiple states.”

Following the riot on Wednesday, Hudson condemned the violence on Twitter, saying it wouldn’t change the outcome of the election.

“Violence will not change the outcome and is completely counter to this process,” Hudson said in a tweet. “Capitol Police are honest, decent men and women whose only goal is to serve and protect the public.”

Prior to the riot, Budd posted picture of him signing his objection to the electoral votes in six states “on behalf of every North Carolinian and every American who wants integrity in their elections.” Afterward, he condemned the violence.

“I’ve been evacuated from the House floor,” Budd stated in a tweet. “We are safe thanks to the brave men & women of the Capitol Hill Police. I remain resolved to uphold my oath to the Constitution & debate our disagreements. Violence is not acceptable & protesters should disperse peacefully immediately.”

In a follow-up video on Twitter around 7 p.m., Budd said he was safe in his office and extended his gratitude to law enforcement. The tweet also condemned “mob rule,” which Budd said “wasn’t representative of our country,” but he also said he was prepared to have a debate on the election results.

Not all of North Carolina’s GOP lawmakers in Congress, however, supported the contesting of the Electoral College votes on Wednesday. Sen. Richard Burr said that while he supported Trump’s legal right to contest the election through the courts, the courts have now “unanimously and overwhelmingly rejected these suits,” and no evidence of voter fraud has emerged that would overturn the 2020 election.

“For nearly 250 years, our nation’s commitment to the peaceful transition of power has been the shining hallmark of our democracy. Today, America’s core principles were threatened by those seeking to forcibly stop our electoral process and overturn the results of a presidential election with which they disagreed,” Burr said. “Let me be clear: these actions are not a defense of this country, but an attack on it.”

Burr also placed blame on Trump for the riot in the Capitol.

“The president bears responsibility for today’s events by promoting the unfounded conspiracy theories that have led to this point,” he said. “It is past time to accept the will of American voters and to allow our nation to move forward. Congress will uphold its constitutional duty and certify the results of the election.”

Additionally, Sen. Thom Tillis, a Republican, said the attempt to overturn the results was “a precedent we should not set,” adding that the framers of the constitution made it clear the power to certify elections is in the hands of the people, not Congress.

“I proudly back the blue and support law and order, which is why I condemned the violence that took place in cities across the nation this summer,” Tillis said on Twitter. “It’s a national disgrace to have a mob attacking Capitol Police and engaging in anarchy. This is not what America stands for.”

Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, on Wednesday also weighed in via Twitter.

“The peaceful transition of power is the hallmark of our democracy. Today’s terrorism is not who we are. This attack on our country must be overcome. America is better than this,” Cooper said.

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