Press Release

McHenry Statement on Electoral College Vote

Today, Congressman Patrick McHenry (NC-10) released the following statement on the Joint Session of Congress to count electoral votes for the President and Vice-President of the United States:

"In November 2016, I was proud to have supported President Trump as he shocked the world with his resounding defeat of Hillary Clinton. I was even more proud of what he accomplished after taking office. In the face of a majority of Democrats claiming his presidency was illegitimate and the baseless Mueller probe, President Trump got to work for the American people.

“President Trump achieved historic tax cuts, repealed the core of Obamacare and Dodd-Frank, fought unfair trade practices of China, and defended our most sacred ally Israel. I supported and worked to pass his agenda every step of the way—voting with President Trump more than any other member of North Carolina’s Congressional delegation. It was his leadership that brought us the best economy of the last 50 years.

“Regardless of his accomplishments—which have unquestionably benefited Americans of all political stripes—one thing has never changed: the unprecedented opposition he’s faced from elected Democrats, the professional left, and their allies in the mainstream media. From the day he was sworn in, Democrats and the political left declared President Trump to be illegitimate and claimed he was a Russian plant while continuing to disparage his supporters, cheered every step of the way by a blatantly biased media. When they took control of Congress in 2019, their only goal was the President’s impeachment. They empowered committees—including the one on which I serve—to lead fishing expeditions into every single aspect of the President’s life—both professional and personal—in a desperate attempt to find something to justify their actions. As an election year approached, they finally settled on a bogus rationale—jamming impeachment through the House in one of the most disgusting and partisan processes I’ve ever seen.

“In this November’s election I was proud to support President Trump and once again work for his election. I wish every congressional district nationwide had voted like the one I am honored to serve.

“Which brings me to the process of certifying the Electoral College votes.

“I took an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. I have studied the Constitution, read what the Framers intended, and studied previously contested Presidential elections. Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution is clear: states determine the manner of election. The Twelfth Amendment is clearer still:

                       '...the President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate 
                       and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the 
                       votes shall then be counted; — The person having the greatest 
                       number of votes for President, shall be the President...'

“Then we have the 1887 law, as amended in 1948, that dictates the congressional process to open and count the ballots (text of the law and Congressional Research Service explainer), and the U.S. House of Representatives Parliamentarian’s reading of the Constitution, law, and precedent, which reads:

                      'A controversy in any State over the appointment of Presidential 
                      electors settled in accordance with a law of that State six days 
                      before the time for the meeting of the electors shall not be a cause 
                      of question in the counting of the electoral vote by Congress.'

“In short, Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution, the Twelfth amendment, and the 1887 Electoral Count Act, as amended, all make clear Congress has a limited role when it comes to counting the electoral votes submitted by each state. Under the Constitution, the House must certify the electors submitted by the states, unless there are competing slates of electors, which is not the case today. At no other time in our history have we rejected a full slate of electors without an alternative also being legally presented. 

“Beyond the fact that voting against certification of legally submitted electors would violate the oath I took to our Constitution; I also have serious concerns about the precedent these actions could set were they to succeed.  

“I also worry about the long-term consequences these actions could have on the Electoral College, which the left has been seeking to eliminate for years. They know its elimination would empower the voters in corrupt and mismanaged blue states like California, Illinois, and New York to be decisive in electing our President. I have no doubt that activists on the left will use Congress’ votes against legally submitted electors as further evidence for why the Electoral College must be eliminated. As evidenced by the fact Republicans have won the popular vote only once in the last 32 years, few actions could do more to ensure Democrat Presidents than eliminating the Electoral College.

“While I am proud to have supported President Trump’s agenda and am honored to have worked with him as he accomplished so much, I cannot violate the oath I took. It is my duty to uphold my Constitutional responsibilities.”