SPOKANE, Wash — After saying she would "support objections" to the Electoral College vote counts, Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers backtracked on Wednesday in response to violence at the U.S. Capitol.
This comes as a mob of President Trump's supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday and forced lawmakers into hiding. The riot interrupted Congress’ Electoral College count that will formalize Biden’s upcoming inauguration on Jan. 20.
In a statement released on Tuesday, McMorris Rodgers initially said she would "support the objections to Electoral College vote counts in states where there have been allegations of voter fraud and questions raised about the legality of changes to state election law."
"I will continue to fight for answers for the people I represent and make sure their voices are heard," the statement read in part.
McMorris Rodgers called the attack at the U.S. Capitol "unlawful and unacceptable" in a statement released on Wednesday, adding that she will "vote to uphold the Electoral College results" and "encourage Donald Trump to condemn and put an end to this madness.”
The full statement released on Wednesday is as follows:
“What happened today and continues to unfold in the nation’s capital is disgraceful and un-American. Thugs assaulted Capitol Police Officers, breached and defaced our Capitol Building, put people’s lives in danger, and disregarded the values we hold dear as Americans. To anyone involved, shame on you. We must have a peaceful transfer of power. The only reason for my objection was to give voice to the concern that governors and courts unilaterally changed election procedures without the will of the people and outside of the legislative process. I have been consistent in my belief that Americans should utilize the Constitutional tools and legal processes available to seek answers to their questions about the 2020 election. What we have seen today is unlawful and unacceptable. I have decided I will vote to uphold the Electoral College results and I encourage Donald Trump to condemn and put an end to this madness.”
Rep. Marcus Riccelli, who represents Washington's 3rd District, accused McMorris Rodgers in a tweet on Wednesday of helping to "lead this insurrection."
"You did this and you are part of this. Make no mistake. This is your legacy. You have put not only the lives of the Capitol Police at risk, but our democracy. Instead of showing leadership to put a stop to this months ago you have helped lead this insurrection," his tweet reads.
Washington Governor Jay Inslee responded to McMorris Rodgers' initial statement on Twitter Tuesday night, saying in part that "this mark of dishonor will last through the ages."
"Disenfranchising voters to satisfy the whims of Pres. Trump betrays the Constitution. No evidence exists to justify an objection to the electoral count. Pres.-elect Biden and VP-elect Harris won. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers knows that. This mark of dishonor will last through the ages," Inslee's statement reads in full.
North Idaho Congressman Russ Fulcher said on Tuesday that he also objects to the Electoral College vote counts in a video posted on his Facebook page.
On Wednesday, he called the violence "unacceptable" and said it "does not move us closer to solutions," but did not address his previous statement.
Republicans are citing President Donald Trump's repeated, baseless charges of widespread fraud. They say they will officially object to the results, forcing votes in the Republican-run Senate and the Democratic-controlled House that will almost certainly fail.
There was not widespread fraud in the election, as has been confirmed by a range of election officials and by William Barr, who stepped down as attorney general last month. Neither Trump nor any of the lawmakers promising to object to the count have presented credible evidence that would change the outcome.
Nearly all of the legal challenges put forth by Trump and his allies have been dismissed by judges. The Supreme Court, which includes three Trump-nominated justices, has also denied requests to hear a pair of cases aimed at invalidating the outcome of the election in key battleground states.
The congressional meeting is the final step in reaffirming President-elect Joe Biden’s win, after the Electoral College officially elected him on Dec 14. The meeting is required by the Constitution and includes several distinct steps.
Under federal law, Congress must meet Jan. 6 to open sealed certificates from each state that contain a record of their electoral votes. The votes are brought into the chamber in special mahogany boxes used for the occasion.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.