U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, a Republican who represents Monroe County as part of Illinois’ 12th congressional district, was among several GOP lawmakers in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday who unsuccessfully objected to Electoral College votes from states that supported Democrat Joe Biden for president.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blasted his Republican colleagues Wednesday morning for the objection stunt.
“We cannot simply declare ourselves a national board of elections on steroids,” McConnell said. “The voters, the courts and the states have all spoken. They’ve all spoken. If we overrule them, it would damage our republic forever.”
Congress was forced to halt the vote count and put the U.S. Capitol on lockdown, however, after a swarm of pro-Donald Trump rioters stormed past the police line and entered the building. There were even reports of armed standoffs inside the Capitol. One woman was shot on the Capitol grounds and later died. Another three people died from medical emergencies during the riot. More than 50 people were arrested, at least a dozen police were injured, and officers confiscated guns, pipe bombs and Molotov cocktails. One of the injured police officers died on Thursday.
Ahead of Wednesday’s count, Trump spoke to his supporters during a rally protesting the November election results and said he would join demonstrators who were planning to march to the Capitol. He did not make good on that promise.
In a Twitter post late Wednesday afternoon, Rep. Bost said he was safe.
“What is happening in our nation’s capital is not just unacceptable, it’s un-American,” Bost posted on Twitter. “Please pray for peace and the safety of our brave law enforcement and first responders.”
Bost was not in the Capitol building at the time the rioters entered the building, as he was in a nearby facility at that time.
He heard on the radio of the Capitol Police officers stationed in his area, however, that they were being overrun. He then watched the events unfold on television while sheltering in his office for several hours.
He said what he saw made him “brokenhearted” and “frustrated” about the state of our nation.
When the Senate and House of Representatives reconvened Wednesday evening, the proceedings continued, although some lawmakers who had previously planned to vote with the objectors stood down following the occupation of the Capitol.
Still, Bost was among 139 Republican representatives that continued forward with their objections.
Bost said the actions of the group who forced entry into the Capitol did not ever make him reconsider his vote.
“My vote was not based on the emotions of people,” he said. “My vote as based on the Constitution.”
Thursday morning, Bost explained his decision to continue with his objection.
“As a United States representative, I swore an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution, no matter how difficult or divisive the issue at hand. And when it comes to certifying a state’s electoral votes, the Constitution is clear: state legislatures set the rules for states in conducting their elections. However, that simply was not the case in certain states in 2020,” Bost posted on Facebook. “Two states in particular, Pennsylvania and Arizona, faced objections in the House and Senate to their electoral vote allocations, prompting floor votes in both chambers. I voted to object to the electoral votes of both states because, in my belief, they failed to meet that constitutional standard. The deeply troubling scenes at the U.S. Capitol yesterday indicate the intense distrust that many Americans have toward the election process. If we have any hope of restoring that faith and healing the deep divisions in our country, our efforts must be rooted in constitutional principles and fair elections.”
Trump and his allies have filed 62 lawsuits in state and federal courts following the Nov. 3 election, per USA Today, with 61 of them failing. The lone victory came when a Pennsylvania judge sided with the Trump campaign in ruling that voters could not go back and “cure” their ballots if they failed to provide proper identification three days after the election.
This ruling affected few votes and did not change the outcome in Pennsylvania, which Biden won by 81,660 votes.
The objections were all for naught, as Vice President Mike Pence announced just after 3:40 a.m. Thursday that President-elect Biden had won the presidency after Congress completed the counting of all Electoral College votes.
Biden’s inauguration takes place Jan. 20.