New Congress

Vice President Mike Pence administers the oath of office to U.S. Sen. Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn., as his wife Chrissy Hagerty looks on during a reenactment ceremony in the Old Senate Chamber at the Capitol in Washington on Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021.

(The Center Square) – When Congress reconvened Wednesday night after the U.S. Capitol was secured, only four of Tennessee’s 11-member congressional delegation – two Democrats and two Republicans – did not object to the results of the Electoral College.

In a reversal from previous statements, Republican U.S. Sens. Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty did not object to the results of the Electoral College, confirming Joe Biden as president-elect.

“I will vote in support of certifying the electoral college results,” Blackburn tweeted Wednesday night.

Hagerty did not release a statement on his decision.

Blackburn and Hagerty pledged last weekend to “stand against tainted electoral results” from last November, and joined a group of other GOP senators in the objection effort.

Seven GOP members of Tennessee’s delegation in Congress did not have a change of heart, despite a riotous mob breaking into the Capitol and overwhelming security, forcing members of Congress to barricade doors and in shelter in place until the National Guard cleared the complex.

Reps. Tim Burchett, Scott Desjarlais, Chuck Fleischmann, Mark Green, Diana Harshbarger and John Rose joined the objection effort. Congressman David Kustoff did not vote in objection to Electoral College results from Arizona, but did object to results from Pennsylvania.

Each of Tennessee’s congressmen released statements Wednesday condemning violence at the U.S. Capitol. Fleischmann released a statement explaining his vote, recalling his experience of being shot at a congressional baseball game practice in June 2017.

“The violence that occurred at the Capitol Wednesday is an affront to our Republic,” Fleischmann said. “As I said I would, I voted in support of an objection raised during the Electoral College certification in order to voice concerns about irregularities that occurred in the 2020 election. … It has been reported that over 1 in 4 Americans do not believe this election was legitimate. This is a concerning statistic for our future, and we must do all we can moving forward to restore faith in the foundation of our republic, free and fair elections.”

Tennessee’s Democratic Congressmen Jim Cooper of Nashville and Steve Cohen of Memphis have called for Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to the Constitution, removing President Trump from office.

“Sometimes when you play with fire you start a bonfire,” Cooper tweeted. “Members of Congress who incited the violent attack on our Capitol building yesterday must be held accountable.”

Staff Reporter

Vivian Jones reports on Tennessee and South Carolina for The Center Square. Her writing has appeared in the Detroit News, The Hill, and publications of The Heartland Institute.