Thursday, Oklahoma City’s Congresswoman Stephanie Bice (CD-5) condemned “rioters” at the nation’s Capitol but never acknowledged that they were supporters of President Donald Trump.
“What happened inside our nation’s Capitol yesterday was not a reflection of who we are as a country,” Bice said. “Peaceful protests are the foundation of this nation, but yesterday’s acts were far from a peaceful demonstration. I do not condone what these rioters have done, and I hope to see them prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”
But, that was the extent of her condemnation of the brazen actions of Trump insurrectionists who broke into the Capitol defacing parts of the building and rummaging through senators’ desks in that chamber. Four people in the group died in the melee and law enforcement officers were injured from being attacked.
Trump had given a speech in the morning that inflamed the crowd in front of the White House. Then, later in the day, he refused to call for the insurrectionists to stop for hours even though several reports from inside the White House showed that he was watching the developments on TV the whole time. Even in a video where he said for his supporters to go home, he still repeated claims of a stolen election.
Justifying the vote
Bice used the rest of her statement to justify why she went ahead later in the evening when order was restored. She among a group of 121 House members who voted to object to the electoral college vote. The entire group of 121 are Republicans.
“Many have questioned my decision to support challenging states’ electoral college votes,” said Bice. “Let me be clear – my vote represented my desire to ensure the security of elections across the country, not to overturn an election. Any other reason for my support of challenging the certification of the votes is categorically false.”
She then referred to a situation in Oklahoma where the Oklahoma Supreme Court had ruled on a new law passed by the Republican-dominated Legislature to require absentee ballots be notarized. The law conflicted with another law and the court sent it back to the Legislature for correction. The Legislature corrected the problem and the law stood.
But, in the Thursday statement, Bice portrayed the situation as a case where “Oklahoma’s election laws were jeopardized.”
She said that had it not been for the legislature’s actions “many would question the integrity of our state’s elections” after the state’s Supreme Court made the ruling.
The framing by Bice, a marketing and PR professional, was that the Oklahoma Supreme Court was somehow against election integrity and the Legislature stood up to them.
Her argument was made in clear support of the contention by Bice and others that the various state courts’ review and denial of objections really didn’t matter and so there needed to be a Congressional investigation.
Under the United States Constitution, each state is responsible for carrying out their own elections and then certifying the results before sending to the Congress.
Honoring the GOP agenda
In her victory speech on election night, Bice said little about representing the people of the 5th District.
Instead, she pointed to what she would be able to do to strengthen the Republican position in Congress, a national agenda.
“I am thrilled that once again Oklahoma is on the federal level…red. But, let’s be clear, the real work begins tomorrow because I’ve gotta go to work to give Nancy Pelosi a new title and that is former speaker of the house,” Bice said during her victory speech.
Her falling in line with the 120 others who also did not vary from their original plan in the House was consistent with her election night pledge to support the national party agenda.
Sharp contrast to Lankford
Oklahoma’s Senator James Lankford backed away from his original plan to object to the electoral college vote as a part of a larger effort by Missouri Senator Josh Hawley and Texas Senator Ted Cruz.
But while Lankford originally joined the group organized by Hawley and Cruz, he backed away and announced in his speech after the break-in that he would not be voting to object to the Electoral College votes.
Clearly shaken by the days events, Lankford looked grave and his voice trembled at times.
Referencing the many times that Senators disagree, Lankford pointed around the Chamber. “That person, that person, that person is not my enemy. That’s my fellow American,” said the stone-faced Lankford.
Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe refused to be a part of Cruz and Hawley’s scheme from the beginning.
The Senate group called for holding an investigation citing anger and objections from Trump supporters around the country partly instigated by those very senators and Trump.
The 121 House Republicans developed their plan to object in support of those senators’ plan.
UPDATE: 10:10 Friday, January 8: We added a screenshot of the vote of the Oklahoma delegation in the House and updated the link to the Clerk’s record that sends readers to the interactive database on that vote instead of the static one we had originally.
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