Last Updated on January 4, 2021
Senator Tom Cotton announced that he will not be challenging the Electoral College votes, potentially scuppering his chances to ever become President.
In a statement about the joint session of Congress on January 6th where the House and the Senate will ratify or reject the Electoral College votes, Senator Cotton said he will not be joining a number of Republican Senators in objecting to votes from states where allegations of serious voter fraud have cast the results into doubt.
Currently, 12 Republican Senators, led by Senator Josh Hawley, are set to challenge the Electoral College votes. In a joint statement, they said that “voter fraud has posed a persistent challenge in our elections, although its breadth and scope are disputed… [and that] by any measure, the allegations of fraud and irregularities in the 2020 election exceed any in our lifetimes.”
Despite Cotton saying that he “shares the concerns of many Arkansans about irregularities in the presidential election,” especially regarding mail-in voting, he cannot support the “overturning” of the Electoral College votes by Congress, as “the Founders entrusted our elections chiefly to the states… [and] to the people – not Congress”:
Under the Constitution and federal law, Congress’s power is limited to counting electoral votes submitted by the states. If Congress purported to overturn the results of the Electoral College, it would not only exceed that power, but also establish unwise precedents.
First, Congress would take away the power to choose the president from the people, which would essentially end presidential elections and place that power in the hands of whichever party controls Congress. Second, Congress would imperil the Electoral College, which gives small states like Arkansas a voice in presidential elections. Democrats could achieve their longstanding goal of eliminating the Electoral College in effect by refusing to count electoral votes in the future for a Republican president-elect. Third, Congress would take another big step toward federalizing election law, another longstanding Democratic priority that Republicans have consistently opposed.
Cotton argued that any objection to “certified” electoral votes would not give President Trump a second term, but only “embolden those Democrats who want to erode further our system of constitutional government.”
Please see my statement below on the Joint Session of Congress on January 6:https://t.co/oozjpm9r9x
— Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) January 4, 2021
Supporters of President Trump were furious at Cotton’s decision, which they viewed as tantamount to a betrayal. Many not only said that he had now scuppered his chances at ever becoming President in the future, but that he would be facing primary challengers for his Senate seat in 2022 from America First candidates. His decision not to challenge the Electoral College votes will be “the mistake of his career,” some noted.
You fucking quit on us. You're done in the realm of meaningful input to the Conservatives in this nation. All that work with no spine was impressive. Not anymore.
— Curt Schilling (@gehrig38) January 4, 2021
The Founders “entrusted the election of our president to the people, acting through the Electoral College—not Congress.” – Tom Cotton
Cotton misses the whole point. The people haven’t decided. The cheating establishment decided. Cotton makes the mistake of his career.
— First Words (@unscriptedmike) January 4, 2021
Notice how he won’t even put in the tweet that he’s voting to affirm election results he knows to be wrong.
Senator Tom Cotton is not going to object to certification.
— #ThePersistence (@ScottPresler) January 4, 2021
I would have never guessed Tom Cotton would betray us like this. Wow.
— Nick Adams (@NickAdamsinUSA) January 4, 2021
Cotton had been floated as a potential successor to President Trump in 2024, especially following a column for the New York Times in the summer, where he suggested that violent Black Lives Matter riots should be put down by military force. National File reached out to Senator Cotton’s office, but did not receive a response at the time of publication.