Elections

GOP Congressman Dan Crenshaw says election deniers know they’re lying

The representative from Houston said fellow Republicans admitted behind closed doors that the 2020 election wasn’t stolen, and he warned that such messaging could dangerously mislead voters.

Chip Somodevilla/Pool via REUTERS
U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Houston, during a House Homeland Security Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. He said Monday some suburban voters are “turned off” by President Donald Trump.

Members of Congress who contested the 2020 election results admitted behind closed doors that they know their cause is false, U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Houston, said on his podcast published Wednesday, offering his sternest rebuke yet of his party's rejection of President Joe Biden's win.

Speaking with former congressional candidate and election reform advocate Nick Troiano on his podcast, "Hold These Truths," the Texas Republican said fellow members of his party were merely trying to signal their disapproval of former President Donald Trump's loss but knew there was no real mechanism to overturn it. Still, he warned that messaging could dangerously lead to voters losing faith in the electoral process.

"It was always a lie. The whole thing was always a lie. And it was a lie meant to rile people up," Crenshaw said, deriding some of his peers as "political personalities" rather than "politicians." He did not name the members he was referring to.

"People just need their last hurrah. They just need to feel like they fought one last time," he added. Other members told him, "‘Trust me, it'll be fine.' And I was like, ‘No, it won't! That's not what people believe and that's not what you're telling them.'"

Trump has been widely expected to run for office again in 2024, and Axios reported Friday that the former president could formally announce his bid on Nov. 14, shortly after the midterm elections.

Crenshaw was among a handful of Texas Republicans to vote against GOP objections to the results of the 2020 presidential election. Although the objections delayed the certification of the results, culminating in the violent attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, the effort was always doomed to fail with a Democratic majority in the House.

Members of both parties have since advanced legislation to make objecting to election results more difficult, including increased thresholds for lawmakers to file an objection and clarifying the vice president's role in certifying elections as purely ceremonial. The measures have so far enjoyed wide bipartisan support. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, was the only holdout on the Senate Rules Committee to oppose the bill. Cruz continues to decline to say that President Joe Biden was legitimately elected, though he has come to terms with the current occupant of the White House.

Crenshaw has spoken frequently against members of his party who he said focus primarily on projecting conservative soundbites over serious legislating, calling them the "woke right." That arm of the party, he said, will likely only keep growing with more hardline Republicans in tow with Trump running in favorable districts this year. Republicans are widely expected to win control of the U.S. House in the next Congress.

"This extreme willingness to say the most extreme things just to grab people's attention and then the people's willingness to believe some of it," Crenshaw said on the podcast. "There just doesn't seem to be a limit to how far some people are willing to go."

There was no evidence of widespread voter fraud that would have undermined the reported results of the 2020 presidential election, and the Trump administration implicitly acknowledged Biden's victory by kicking off, though belatedly, the presidential transition in mid-November that year.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2022/11/04/dan-crenshaw-election-deniers/. The Texas Tribune is a member-supported, nonpartisan newsroom informing and engaging Texans on state politics and policy. Learn more at texastribune.org.

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