New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on Monday launched a verbal attack against a group of congressional Republicans, including Rep. Jeff Van Drew, for their “shameful” and “dangerous” plan to challenge the presidential election results based on unsupported allegations of voter fraud.
“I have to address, in the words I will use, the shameful, dangerous, undemocratic and unpatriotic display of a number of congressional Republicans who are openly and unabashedly working to undermine our constitutional norms … and to overthrow a free and fair election decided by the American people,” Murphy said during his regular briefing in Trenton.
Congress on Wednesday is set to certify the Electoral College votes, confirming President-elect Joe Biden’s victory, but at least 12 incoming and current Republican senators, along with well over 100 GOP House members — including Van Drew — have said they are going to challenge the results based on unfounded false claims of voter fraud.
Van Drew, the Democrat-turned-Republican who won reelection to New Jersey’s 2nd Congressional District in November, wrote in an op-ed last week that he would vote against certifying the Electoral College results.
In late 2019, Van Drew switched parties, formally becoming a Republican and pledging his “undying support“ for President Donald Trump.
“My vote isn’t about who won or lost the presidency. Rather, my vote is a reflection of the litany of serious unanswered questions surrounding this election to which Americans deserve answers,” Van Drew wrote in a blog post for Save Jersey. “My vote is also a rejection of the status quo and a no confidence vote in the politicians, corporate special interests, and legacy media establishment who continually mock Americans as naive, stupid, or conspiracy theorists for demanding answers to these important questions.”
The upcoming certification vote comes as The Washington Post published leaked audio of Trump pressuring Georgia officials to “find” enough votes to overturn Biden’s victory. Legal experts and lawmakers say Trump’s call could run afoul of federal and state criminal statutes.
Murphy on Monday said Trump‘s actions “subvert American democracy for his personal benefit. … Let that sink in for a minute.”
“Thankfully, there are enough Republicans in Congress to prevent the fevered dreams of a small band of right-wing conspiracy theorists and their pathetic minions,” Murphy said before going after Van Drew.
“It pains me in particular to see one of our own representatives, Congressman Jeff Van Drew, cynically siding with conspiracy theorists and throwing his fate in with the far right’s disproven and crackpot theories,” he said. ”If that’s the legacy Jeff wants, then I guess it is what it is.”
Murphy, a progressive Democrat, is running for reelection to a second term this year. Thus far, neither of the two declared Republicans seeking their party’s nomination to challenge Murphy — former Assemblymember Jack Ciattarelli and former state GOP Chair Doug Steinhardt — has acknowledged Biden‘s victory when questioned by POLITICO.
During Monday’s briefing, Murphy praised Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick and former Gov. Christine Todd Whitman as being among the “tiny number of senior New Jersey Republicans who have done the right thing“ by acknowledging the election‘s outcome. Bramnick, who has openly criticized Trump‘s rhetoric, was mulling a run for governor, but ultimately decided against it.
“I commend the Republicans who have shown the courage of their convictions to say what’s right,” Murphy said. “But we’ve lost something greater when simply acknowledging the will of the people after an election is considered courageous and shame on those who have not found any semblance of courage, hopefully tomorrow will just be a day of noise and our constitution will emerge intact.”
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