When Congress met Wednesday to count the electoral college votes and certify Democrat Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 election, several Republican members, including a handful of the 53 representatives from California, planned to object to the vote.
Then the proceedings, which are largely ceremonial â€” were disrupted when hundreds of angry Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol, capturing the nationâ€™s attention and threatening its democratic process.
When Congress resumed counting the votes Wednesday night, several of the GOP lawmakers who have allied themselves with President Trump and had planned to object to the formalization of the end of his presidency backed down, citing the mob violence as their reason for reversing course.
But some Republicans in the House continued with their objections, including seven California lawmakers. The congressmen condemned the rioters, who were fueled by Trumpâ€™s baseless claims of election fraud. Yet they voted against certifying the election results.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield)
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy spoke on television multiple times Wednesday afternoon, condemning the violence and expressing determination to complete the electoral college count. He called Wednesday his saddest day in Congress.
“No one wins when this building and what it stands for are destroyed,” he said in a speech on the House floor Wednesday night.
McCarthy welcomed civil debate and a formal process to challenge one another but said everyone should unite in condemning the violence that occurred inside the Capitol.
“Our democracy cannot be disrupted by criminal behavior. We will not falter. We will not bend. We will not shrink from our duty,” McCarthy said. “Let me be clear, mobs don’t rule America.”
He thanked law enforcement, Capitol police and the National Guard for their defense, drawing applause from his colleagues in the House chamber.
Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Corona)
In a statement issued Thursday morning, Rep. Ken Calvert outlined why he questioned the election results in Pennsylvania and Arizona.
“Thereâ€™s no excuse or any justification for violence like we saw yesterday at the United States Capitol. We must always protect the rule of law,” he said. “During difficult and divisive times in our nation, I believe we must follow the Constitution. Thatâ€™s why today I lent my voice to the millions of Americans and my constituents who are deeply concerned by the integrity of the election.”
Calvert said he remained troubled by some states’ changes to voting rules. He called for a thorough investigation of alleged voter fraud or irregularities, including in Arizona. He acknowledged Congress’ certification of Biden as the 46th president and pledged to continue fighting for conservative values when “we will have a new president on Jan. 20.”
“Make no mistake this was not a decision I take lightly,” Calvert said in the statement. “However, moving forward, we must demand states establish election laws through constitutional means and execute the election process in a more orderly and transparent manner to ensure every American can have confidence in the integrity of our elections.”
Rep. Mike Garcia (R-Santa Clarita)
A former U.S. Navy fighter pilot, Rep. Mike Garcia objected to the results in Arizona and Pennsylvania, saying he was fulfilling a duty to his constituents to resolve any uncertainty surrounding the election.
He said he had examined evidence and “firmly believe[d]” that there were constitutional errors in certain states’ election law. He acknowledged the election process had “run its course” and congratulated Biden and Vice President-elect Kalama Harris on their win.
“It is time that we move forward and unite for the sake of California and all of America,” Garcia said in a statement.
On Wednesday, Garcia condemned the actions of those who stormed the Capitol and said, “Violence has no place in a democracy.”
“It was heartbreaking watching todayâ€™s events unfold,” he wrote. “This is not who we are, this is not the America that I know, love, and fought for in the United States Navy.”
America is a country grounded in our freedoms promised in the U.S. Constitution and protected by our brave men and women in uniform, and as a former U.S. Navy Fighter Pilot and U.S. Congressman, I am committed to protecting these rights. https://t.co/cHfCDXksVL
â€” Rep. Mike Garcia (@RepMikeGarcia) January 7, 2021
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista)
In a Twitter thread late Wednesday, Rep. Darrell Issa said the violence and turmoil at the U.S. Capitol was “completely unacceptable.” He said crimes were committed, adding that one person died during the chaos.
He compared violence at the Capitol to protests over the summer, calling both demonstrations “indefensible.” Citing comments made to him by the late Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), Issa said America deserved better.
“We are far better than what we saw last summer and today,” Issa tweeted. “We can now prove that we are the America my friend believed â€” and I believe â€” is better.”
Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale)
Rep. Doug LaMalfa told supporters on Facebook on Wednesday afternoon that he and his staff were secure in the House, thanks to Capitol police. He condemned the violence as “inexcusable” and said insurgents should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
“The actions at the Capitol today hurt our country,” he wrote. “The voice of the House of the People will not be silenced for long by a small group that violates the goodwill of all Americans to the right to redress their grievances.”
Rep. Jay Obernolte (R-Hesperia)
Rep. Jay Obernolte tweeted his thanks to law enforcement and National Guard members Wednesday evening for protecting Congress and restoring law and order.
“I fully support the right to peacefully protest, but violence is absolutely unacceptable. Our Capitol is the stronghold of our democracy, and should not be torn down,” Obernolte wrote. “We must respect our police and the rule of law.”
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Tulare)
Comment from Rep. Devin Nunes was not immediately available Thursday.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.