The seriousness of Donald Trump’s coup attempt was highlighted repeatedly over the weekend, starting with at least 12 Republican senators announcing they intended to join many House Republicans in voting to reject the results of states Trump doesn’t think he should have lost. These Republicans—including Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz, Ron Johnson, and James Lankford—may not believe they’ll overturn this election, but in addition to sucking up to Trump, they’re carrying out a practice run for 2024.
That was followed by a recording of a Saturday call in which Trump berated and threatened Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in a demand that he “find 11,780 votes” to overturn the state’s election result. Sunday morning, Trump had tweeted, “I spoke to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger yesterday about Fulton County and voter fraud in Georgia. He was unwilling, or unable, to answer questions such as the ‘ballots under table’ scam, ballot destruction, out of state ‘voters’, dead voters, and more. He has no clue!” Someone had the receipts, though, and The Washington Post was out with a report on the recording of the call within hours, showing Trump alternating between bullying, threatening, begging, and sounding confused—all in service of a demand that Raffensperger illegally and retroactively fix the election in his favor.
Monday morning, Raffensperger’s office said publicly that Trump had tried calling Raffensperger 18 times to make that conversation happen. How many other state officials do you think got similar calls?
If anyone was still inclined to downplay the cause for concern, every living former defense secretary did his best to set that straight later Sunday, with a warning against military involvement in the election outcome. “Efforts to involve the U.S. armed forces in resolving election disputes would take us into dangerous, unlawful and unconstitutional territory,” the group, which includes Trump appointees Jim Mattis and Mark Esper and former Vice President Dick Cheney, wrote. “Civilian and military officials who direct or carry out such measures would be accountable, including potentially facing criminal penalties, for the grave consequences of their actions on our republic.”
One current congressional Republican did note a key aspect of the ridiculousness of his colleagues’ efforts to overturn the elections: Rep. Chip Roy objected to Republicans from the states other Republicans are contesting being seated in Congress while those objections are a going concern. “After all, those representatives were elected through the very same systems—with the same ballot procedures, with the same signature validations, with the same broadly applied decisions of executive and judicial branch officials—as were the electors chosen for the President of the United States under the laws of those states.”
But at least 140 House Republicans and 12 Senate Republicans plan to go ahead with the effort to overturn the election when Congress meets to certify the results on Wednesday.