Is Andy Harris a Benedict Arnold? He attended a White House meeting on December 21, 2020, at which a legal theory was promoted supporting the ludicrous concept that the Vice President can single-handedly reject slates of electors. The plan was to set aside Joe Biden’s seven million vote plurality win and keep Donald Trump in the White House. President Trump adopted the legal theory, but Mike Pence rejected it. That rejection almost cost Pence his life on January 6.
According to testimony that the House Select Committee received regarding the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol, the purpose of the meeting was to discuss a plan to “encourage members of the public to fight the outcome on January 6.”
What was Harris’ role at the meeting? Did President Trump tell Harris and the other 10 Republican Congresspeople at the meeting (including then-Congresswoman-elect Marjorie Taylor Green) that armed militia men would storm the Capitol to ensure that the electoral college vote was never certified? Did Harris volunteer to help make the assault on the Capitol successful? First District voters deserve to know the answers to these and other questions.
Andy is not talking, perhaps with good reason in that sedition is a felony. Benedict Arnold got shot for it. It appears that Harris has concluded that his constituents do not think the events of January 6 were important or, in some cases, were justified. I hope that enough First District voters will disagree to impact the 2022 election.
Heather Mizeur won the Democratic primary and will face Harris in November. Many pundits suggest that she cannot win. They suggest the district is just too conservative for a domestic policy expert to win. These pundits may be right, but could Harris’ complicity in the January 6 insurrection make a difference? I hope it can.
Even hard-core conservatives should now understand that a coup attempt occurred on January 6. That knowledge should prompt them to reassess Mr. Harris. Even if they oppose Democratic policies and hate Joe Biden, they should consider whether they want to reward Andy Harris with another term in Congress. Here’s how Heather put it: “I’m running against Andy Harris because he is a traitor, and I am a patriot.”
A few Spy readers will respond to this column by telling me that I am crazy. Maybe. But evidence is growing that the January 6 hearings are making a difference. Politico reports that a New York Times/Sienna College poll showed that growing numbers of Republicans would prefer someone other than Trump to be their standard bearer in 2024. The same article reports that a series of recent focus groups showed an erosion in support for Trump.
Last week I discussed Trump with a conservative friend. The talk gave me hope. The friend expressed chagrin that Harris attended the December 21st meeting. “Why couldn’t he just focus on representing us?” was the comment. The friend also wanted to know why Harris does not feel obligated to tell his constituents his role in a meeting of conspirators.
My friend smells a rat. When I commented that “at least he wasn’t giving Proud Boys tours of the Capitol on January 5,” my friend sighed and asked me to give him a break. “He broke his oath of office,” my friend told me, “If he schemed to violate the Constitution, he wasn’t protecting it, and he has to go.”
It is now too late for First District Republicans to replace Harris as their candidate for Congress. The only alternative is to vote for Ms. Mizeur. Will First District Republicans do that? If the election were held today, they would not. Mizeur would lose. But what if we learn that Harris was more than just a cheerleader for Trump in the days preceding January 6? That could make a difference.
So do not tell me Mizeur cannot win. And do not tell me that Handgun Harris deserves another term in Congress. He does not. He did a poor job representing the district before January 6. His actions since then are the icing on the cake.
Harris needs to come clean. He needs to tell us why he was at the December 21 meeting, what other conversations he had with Trump and other co-conspirators leading up to January 6, and he must condemn the Trump coup.
And, just in case Andy decides to lie about what he did, or to continue his stonewalling, maybe Jamie Raskin (D-MD), a member of the January 6 Committee, can lend a hand. The January 6 Committee must explore fully the actions of the 10 Republican Congresspeople and report their findings to the public and, if the facts merit it, to the Department of Justice.
J.E. Dean is a retired attorney and public affairs consultant writing on politics, government, and, when the Constitution is not under attack, other subjects.