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Q&A: Rep. Davis On Trump's Denial Of Election Loss

Davis and Trump
Jeff Roberson
U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis appears with President Donald Trump at an event in 2018 in Murphysboro in southern Illinois.

Hundreds of Republicans in Congress have declined to acknowledge that President-elect Joe Biden is indeed the president-elect. President Trump himself continues to falsely claim he won the election, even as he seriously considers launching a bid for 2024.

U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, who was an honorary co-chair for Trump’s campaign in Illinois, recently won re-election himself. He represents the 13th Congressional District, which includes parts of Bloomington-Normal, Champaign-Urbana, Springfield and Decatur.

RELATED STORY: Rep. Davis Weighs In On Prospects For COVID Relief Package

WGLT spoke to him Monday about the presidential race results.

WGLT: What do you make of President Trump's continued insistence that he won the election?

Davis: Well, he has every right to make sure that every legal challenge that he and his team want to mount is made. He has every right to to wait until the Electoral College, which is the process our Constitution lays out, that chooses the president, meets and chooses the president. And I fully anticipate based upon the results, the Electoral College will choose Joe Biden as the next president.

But you know, this is an issue that the president is going to continue to pursue all legal options to make sure every vote that was cast was legally cast and counted.

After President Trump won the 2016 election, many people on the left refused to accept him as their president. “Not my president” was the saying. And now we have the opposite of that happening, with the president refusing to concede an election he clearly lost. Where does this end, this unwillingness to accept a political opponent’s victory? That's unhealthy, isn't it?

You know, it does. And it's an issue of the polarization of our country, and how polarized that we seem to see the electorate move. This is something you and I have talked about numerous times. That's why I try to be as bipartisan as I am. Because that's how I believe we get most of the good provisions that we put in place that are better for our country. That's how we successfully move within our constitutional republic on how to govern.

I'm not surprised that the far ends of the political spectrum have had similar reactions to electoral losses. But at the same time, we also have to see a balance. And it's frustrating when we walk through the halls of the Capitol building and get asked about accepting election results at the presidential level, when the Electoral College has yet to even meet, when some of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle are not being asked if a duly elected member of Congress from the state of Iowa, Mariannette Miller-Meeks, who according to Iowa recounts, and also the certification that she was the winner, showed that she won by six votes. But instead of being asked those questions about how is that different from accepting the same certifications on the presidential level, they aren't asked about it. They aren't held to the same standards. They're not held to the same accountability by many of the large media outlets that we see that roam the halls of the U.S. Capitol. And I certainly hope that changes in the next few months, especially when we see that the candidate who did not receive the electoral certificate, who lost, according to Iowa officials, by six votes, is now bypassing another court process in Iowa, and going directly to the U.S. House, a political body, to ask them not to seat the person who beat her and possesses that election certificate.

This is something that I'm personally going to be engaged in, because of my service as the lead Republican on the House Administration Committee.

There's been a lot of reporting about 2000, when the Bush-Gore legal dispute played out and there were repercussions on national security – the Bush administration getting sort of a late start on transition and national security stuff and how that preceded 9/11. To your point about the tight congressional race versus the presidential race, isn’t it objectively more important to have clarity on who won the presidency than it is who won a single congressional district?

I don't think that's a question that is accurately fair in the sense that I'm a member of Congress. My job is to make sure that we address the issues that come before our body.

But at the same time, I'm glad that the president, his administration, have allowed Vice President Biden to begin the transition, to begin to get briefings from our national security officials, something that I don't believe was done at this point in time during the transition from the Clinton administration, to the George W. Bush administration, because of the issues with the Florida recount back in 2000.

But everybody who is elected to public office ought to have the same type of respect when it comes to being declared the winner at the time when the final decision is made. The president has not yet seen … we have not seen our electors meet as our Constitution says they should, to determine who the duly elected president of the United States is by the Electoral College set in our Constitution.

However, in my arena in the House, the state of Iowa has already determined that Mariannette Miller-Meeks is the winner. And I certainly think Democrats ought to take a look back at the last time they removed a duly elected Republican member of Congress in 1985 and politically seated a Democrat, Frank McCloskey. They should take a good look back at that and show what a politically charged mess it was. And they ought to be able to stand up to their leadership and say, ‘Not again.’ And they're not doing that, because they're not being asked about it.

You said that you anticipate the Electoral College will name Joe Biden the winner. So does that mean that it’s clear to you now that that Biden won the election?

Well, every election is clear to me at the presidential level, just like four years ago, when Democrats were trying to figure out a way to flip electors. I said then that it certainly appeared that President Trump would get the Electoral College. And it certainly appears to me that Joe Biden will get the Electoral College.

But as I said, the process that our Constitution lays out, finalizes the presidential vote and finalizes who our next president is when those electors meet, and we still haven't seen that happen.

Ryan Denham is the digital content director for WGLT.