Hoyer Urges Members to Honor Oaths to Defend and Preserve the Constitution and Our Democracy

WASHINGTON, DC - Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (MD-05) delivered remarks on the House Floor tonight during debate of the objection to the state of Arizona’s electoral votes, which was rejected. Below are excerpts of his remarks and a link to the video:

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Click here to watch the video.

“It is a sad day in America. It is a wrenching day in America. Is a day in which our words and our actions have had consequences of a very, very negative nature. We ought to watch our words and think what it may mean to some."

“My remarks were written before the tragic, dangerous, and unacceptable actions."

And 'unacceptable' is such a tame word. My remarks started with: ‘Madam Speaker, the American people today are witnessing one of the greatest tragedies in its 244-year history.’ Little did I know that this Capitol would be attacked by the enemy within. I was here on 9/11 when we were attacked by the enemy without. We need to all work together to tame and reduce the anger and, yes, the hate that some stoke."

“What some – not all, Madam Speaker – but some in this House and Senate are doing today will not change the outcome of the election, which is the clear and insurmountable victory of President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris. Instead, all they will accomplish will further the dangerous division – this was written before this Capitol was assaulted, before this democracy was put aside by thousands, encouraged by the Commander-In-Chief. Instead, all they will accomplish is to further the dangerous divisions, as I said, among our people and energize conspiracy theories stoked by our foreign adversaries, which seek to erode America’s confidence in our democracy and our system of free and fair elections.”

“Our electoral system, our democratic system did not break under strains of misinformation and claims of fraud, which court after court after court have dismissed out of hand… because there was no evidence. That is why we have the longest-lasting Constitutional democracy in the world.  I hope all of us in this body are proud of that and understand why that's the case, because as Dick Gephardt said on this Floor many years ago, democracy is a substitute for war to resolve differences."

“[Our democracy] proved once more that ever-beating, strong heart that gives life to our republic and our freedoms. That strength is derived from our institution and our laws. But most importantly, it is powered by citizens and leaders committed to our Constitution. Not just us; we swear an oath. But it is all of America… Every citizen needs to protect, preserve, and uplift our democracy. Some today did not do that.  Many [did not do that] today.”

“Sixty-eight years ago in Springfield, Illinois, Governor Adlai Stevenson gracefully conceded his loss to General Dwight Eisenhower. ‘It is traditionally American,’ he told his deeply disappointed supporters, ‘to fight hard before an election. It is equally traditional to close ranks as soon as the people have spoken.  …that which unites us as American citizens is far greater than that which divides us as political parties.’”

“It was another man from Springfield, four score and eight years prior, who won re-election to the presidency amid a national crisis that tested our country and its democratic institutions, who pleaded even in his hour of victory for this same spirit of reconciliation.  Lincoln asked, ‘Now that the election is over, may not all, having a common interest, re-unite in a common effort to save our common country?’”

“Such is the duty of an American who stands for election or participates in our politics: to be either humble in triumph or gracious in defeat... To put country first and help our nation heal.  It is clear to all that the outgoing president has not followed the path that Stevenson and Lincoln urged.”

“So, We the People must follow it. Each one of us represents about 750,000 to 800,000 people… and they've spoken in the way that our Constitution set for them to be heard by us and by the country. They voted, and they voted pretty decisively. We the People, together, must turn away from division and its dangers.”

“The senior member of our body, Don Young from Alaska, spoke the other day when we were sworn in and said: Ladies and gentlemen of this House, we are so divisive that it's going to destroy our country, and we need to reach out and hold one another's hands."

“We all have a title that we honor more than any other. Perhaps parent; perhaps husband. But we are all Americans. We are Americans. Let us hope that, tonight, we act like Americans. Not as Democrats or Republicans, but as Americans. We the People must again be the strong heart of our American democracy. We the People, on this day in the Congress, must be agents of unity and constructive action to face the grave threats that confront us. And we, the Members of Congress, who swore an oath before God to preserve and protect the Constitution of the United States and our democracy, must do so."

“I don't usually read Senator McConnell's speeches. But I'm not speaking as a Democrat, nor was he speaking as a Republican... He concluded: ‘It would be unfair and wrong to disenfranchise American voters and overrule the courts and states on this extraordinarily thin basis. And I will not pretend such a vote would be a harmless protest gesture… while relying on others to do the right thing. I will vote to respect the people's decision and defend our system of government as we know it."

“I urge my colleagues to vote no on this objection, as McConnell said, a danger to our democracy.”

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