One hundred forty-seven Republicans in Congress voted against certifying Democrat Joe Biden as the winner of the presidential election this month. Not only did they try to overturn the election results and give legitimacy to President Donald Trump’s lies of rampant voter fraud, but they essentially tried to erase the mammoth turnout among Black voters that helped Biden win.
Twelve days after that vote, 107 of those Republicans ― 73% ― tweeted or put out statements Monday praising the work of Martin Luther King Jr., who is perhaps best remembered for fighting for racial justice.
“Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. transformed America and inspired men and women across the world with his call to pursue justice and truth,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said.
Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) tweeted the King quote: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
Boebert is a supporter of the deranged, baseless QAnon conspiracy theory that believes Trump is fighting a Satan-worshipping “deep state” of Democrats and Hollywood celebrities who are sex traffickers.
The hypocrisy was not lost on civil rights leaders.
King is now a beloved civil rights icon, but before he was assassinated in 1968, he pushed for changes that white America often considered controversial, radical and not at all universally popular. Over the years, his legacy has been whitewashed, and Republican politicians who fight steps toward racial equality all year long make a show of holding him up as a hero once a year, on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Trump spent months before the election seeking to tamp down turnout among Democratic strongholds and, weeks afterward, moving to invalidate areas in Michigan, Georgia and Pennsylvania that overwhelmingly voted for Biden.
Those communities are enclaves of Black voters, and the president and his allies moved to paint them as bastions of nonexistent voter fraud that flouted laws to deny him a second term (all of those claims have been proved lies, and most legal challenges to back them up have failed).
While fruitless — Biden will be inaugurated Wednesday — the effort has already had a dramatic effect on American democracy. A pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 to try to stop the certification of the election results, an unprecedented insurrection fanned by Trump and his surrogates. The riot left five people dead, including a Capitol Police officer. The president’s support of the mob was so blatant that Twitter permanently banned him from the platform in fear he would inflame further violence.
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), the first in the chamber to object to the certification of Biden’s victory, has drawn fierce criticism for his role in trying to undercut the results of the election. He’s lost (and regained) a book deal, faced calls that he be disbarred and spent weeks defending his actions and claiming he’s been muzzled.
But on Monday he was one of many who praised King’s legacy.
“Today, we honor the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and his unyielding leadership in the fight for equality,” Hawley’s office said in a statement. “I encourage all Missourians to join with me in celebrating Dr. King’s heroic legacy and in recommitting ourselves to the ideals that he fought for.”
Here’s a list of the lawmakers who put out statements praising King and who also voted to overturn the election results:
Josh Hawley, Mo. (statement)
Mario Diaz-Balart, Fla. (retweet)
Steve Scalise, La. (retweet)
Andy Harris, Md. (retweet)
Michelle Fischbach, Minn.
Billy Long, Mo. (retweet)
Elise M. Stefanik, N.Y. (retweet)
Jim Jordan, Ohio (retweet)
Jeff Duncan, S.C. (retweet)
Michael C. Burgess, Texas
Randy Weber, Texas (retweet)
Alexander X. Mooney, W.Va.
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