mitch mcconnell 1-2-21 ap congress.jpeg

FILE - In this Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020, file photo, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky, speaks during a news conference with other Senate Republicans on Capitol Hill in Washington, while Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyoming, listens at left. Congress is preparing to convene for a new session with lawmakers sworn into office during a tumultuous period. Opening the Senate could be among Mitch McConnell’s final acts at majority leader. Republican control is in question until Tuesday’s runoff elections for two Senate seats in Georgia. The outcome will determine which party holds the chamber. (Nicholas Kamm/Pool Photo via AP, File)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- As Congress convened Wednesday to certify the results of the presidential election, Kentucky senator and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell soundly shut down any hope of overturning Joe Biden's win.

On the House floor, McConnell said this is the most important vote he's ever cast.

President Donald Trump has railed for months against the voting process, insisting that local voting rules and wide-ranging conspiracy theories led to the election being stolen from him. McConnell took the chance Wednesday to unequivocally deny those claims.

Below is the full text of McConnell's comments to the Senate:

"We are debating a step that has never been taken in American history, whether Congress should overrule the voters, and overturn a presidential election. I've served 36 years in the Senate. This will be the most important vote I've ever cast."

"President Trump claims the election was stolen. The assertions range from specific local allegations to constitutional arguments to sweeping conspiracy theories. I supported the president's right to use the legal system. Dozens of lawsuits received hearings in courtrooms all across our country. But over and over, the courts rejected these claims, including all-star judges whom the president himself has nominated."

"Every election, we know, features some illegality and irregularity, and of course, that's unacceptable. I support strong state-led voting reforms. Last year's bizarre pandemic procedures must not become the new norm. But, my colleagues, nothing before us proves illegality anywhere near the massive scale, the massive scale that would have tipped the entire election. Nor can public doubt alone justify a radical break when the doubt itself was incited without any evidence."

"The Constitution gives us here in Congress a limited role. We cannot simply declare ourselves a national board of elections on steroids. The voters, the courts, and the states have all spoken. They've all spoken. If we overrule them, it would damage our republic forever."

"This election actually was not unusually close. Just in recent history, 1976, 2000, and 2004 were all closer than this one. The Electoral College margin is almost identical to what it was in 2016. If this election were overturned by mere allegations from the losing side, our democracy would enter a death spiral. We'd never see the whole nation accept an election again. Every 4 years would be a scramble for power at any cost. The Electoral College, which most of us on this side have been defending for years, would cease to exist, leaving many of our states with no real say at all in choosing a president. The effects would go even beyond the elections themselves."

"Self-government, my colleagues, requires a shared commitment to the truth, and a shared respect for the ground rules of our system. We cannot keep drifting apart into two separate tribes, with a separate set of facts and separate realities, with nothing in common except our hostility towards each other and mistrust for the few national institutions that we all still share."

Every time, every time, in the last 30 years that Democrats have lost a presidential race, they've tried a challenge just like this. After 2000, after 2004, after 2016. After 2004 a senator joined and forced the same debate, and believe it or not, Democrats like Harry Reid, Dick Durbin and Hillary Clinton praised them and applauded the stunt. Republicans condemned those baseless efforts back then, and we just spent four years condemning Democrats' shameful attacks on the validity of President Trump's own election."

So look, there can be no double standard. The media that is outraged today, spent 4 years aiding and abetting Democrats' attacks on our institutions after they lost. But we must not imitate and escalate what we repudiate. Our duty is to govern for the public good. The United States Senate has a higher calling than an endless spiral of partisan vengeance. Congress will either override the voters, overrule them, the voters, the states and the courts for the first time ever, or honor the peoples' decision; will either guarantee Democrats de-legitimizing efforts after 2016 become a permanent new routine for both sides, or declare that our nation deserves a lot better than this; will either hasten down a poisonous path where only winners of elections actually accept the results, or show we can still muster the patriotic courage that our forbears showed not only in victory but in defeat."

"The framers built the Senate to stop short-term passions from boiling over and melting the foundations of our Republic. So I believe protecting our constitutional order requires respecting the limits of our own power. It would be unfair and wrong to disenfranchise American voters and overrule the courts and the states on this extraordinarily thin basis. And I will not pretend such a vote would be a harmless protest gesture, while relying on others to do the right thing."

"I will vote to respect the peoples' decision and defend our system of government as we know it."

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