Sign up for The Brief, our daily newsletter that keeps readers up to speed on the most essential Texas news.
One year ago, hours after a swarm of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol and briefly stopped Congress from ratifying the 2020 election results, 17 Texas Republicans voted against certifying Joe Biden as president.
This week, The Texas Tribune reached out to all those members asking if they accept the 2020 election results as legitimate a year later.
The mob that day attacked police officers and caused millions of dollars of damage to the historic structure. The lawmakers and staff inside hid in fear for their lives as protesters breached the building carrying zip ties and wearing tactical gear.
Texas’ own Sen. Ted Cruz was objecting to certifying Arizona’s election results when the Capitol was overrun. His speech that day and his misleading comments in the weeks before that cast doubts on the election led to calls for his resignation.
But this week he was taking heat from the political right for a speech acknowledging the “solemn anniversary” of a “violent terrorist attack on the Capitol where we saw the men and women of law enforcement … risk their lives to defend the men and women who serve in this Capitol.”
Many conservatives have spent the past several months downplaying the seriousness of the attack, which led to thousands of injuries and five deaths.
“What the hell is going on here?” Fox News host Tucker Carlson said on his show. “You’re making us think that maybe the Republican Party is as worthless as we suspected it was.”
The next day, Cruz appeared on Carlson's show and said his use of the term "violent terrorist attack" was “sloppy” and “frankly dumb.”
A year ago, on the floor of the Senate, Cruz said he was “not arguing for setting aside the results of the election,” but he was objecting because of concerns about how many Americans believed fraud had occurred.
“Even if you do not share that conviction, it is the responsibility, I believe, of this office to acknowledge that it is a profound threat to this country and to the legitimacy of any administrations that will come in the future,” he said shortly before he and his colleagues were evacuated from the Senate chamber because rioters had breached the police line.
When the Tribune asked whether Cruz believed the 2020 election was legitimate, his office did not respond.
In total, 147 Republican lawmakers voted against certifying the election results that day, a move that has since taken the form of a multiyear campaign led by former President Donald Trump to convince the American public that the election was stolen. It wasn’t. His own attorney general, Bill Barr, has said repeatedly that the election was secure. Multiple election reviews in states have confirmed the results, including Texas’ recent review of votes in four of the largest counties.
Here are the Texans who voted to object to certifying the election results on Jan. 6, 2020.
A spokesperson for Nehls did not address whether the congressman accepts the 2020 election results personally, but said in a statement that he thinks the 2020 election "needs further scrutiny and analysis."
"Considering that states across our country sent out tens of millions of universal ballots by mail for the first time in our country's history, it is obvious that there would be irregularities and fraud," he said in a statement.
With the exception of Van Duyne, those lawmakers voted on Jan. 6 to object to the results in both Arizona and Pennsylvania. Van Duyne split her vote, supporting the certification of Arizona’s results but not Pennsylvania’s.
Republican Reps. Van Taylor, Dan Crenshaw, Michael McCaul, Chip Roy and Tony Gonzales voted against objecting to the results. Taylor is now the focus of a primary challenge from Republicans seeking to oust him from office over his vote.
Republican Reps. Kay Granger of Fort Worth and Kevin Brady of The Woodlands had been diagnosed recently with COVID-19 and did not vote.
All the Texas Democrats voted against objecting.
Democrats on Thursday acknowledged the anniversary and the ensuing efforts to undermine the election results.
“It was a day that should have been a symbolic, peaceful transfer of power. However, it sadly resulted in chaos and division by right-wing extremists,” said Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, in a statement. “Unfortunately, a vengeful Donald Trump and many Republicans have perpetuated a Big Lie about election fraud – stirring up anger, fear, and resentment in a lot of Americans.”
Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, pointed the finger at Republicans in a tweet Thursday.
“January 6 was a tragic and shocking day for America. It was nothing less than an attempt to overthrow the government. And now we know that it was much more than a day: It was at least two months of Trump and his gang plotting a coup,” he said.
On Wednesday, Politico reported that days before the insurrection, Capitol Police intelligence analysts were worried that Gohmert’s public comments could encourage violence in response to the 2020 election results.
The Capitol Police intelligence report notes that on Jan. 1, 2021, Gohmert told Newsmax, a conservative media company, that letting the will of the voters stand would mean “the end of our republic, the end of the experiment in self-government,” Politico reported.
“The ruling would be that you got to go to the streets and be as violent as Antifa and [Black Lives Matter],” Gohmert said on Newsmax.
“Representative Gohmert then seemed to encourage violence as a means to this end,” the assessment says, according to Politico.
Gohmert, who is running for Texas attorney general, tweeted the day of the insurrection, “Please people; no violence. That only hurts our cause.”
Disclosure: Politico has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune's journalism. Find a complete list of them here.