Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md.-1st, got into a shouting match on the House floor early Thursday morning during a debate over GOP objections to certifying the electoral votes from Pennsylvania in the 2020 presidential election, according to accounts from several reporters.
Pennsylvania was the second and final state whose certified electoral votes faced objections from Republican lawmakers during what is normally a routine process of Congress opening and reading the electoral votes from the states.
The debate over the first objection, to Arizona’s electoral count, came to a sudden halt early Wednesday afternoon after right-wing domestic terrorists broke into the U.S. Capitol building, forcing lawmakers to be ushered to safe locations as police took several hours to regain control of the building.
Photos and videos show the rioters breaking glass in doors and windows to enter the Capitol and overwhelming Capitol Police officers trying to keep them out. One woman was fatally shot by an officer during the melee, three others died as a result of medical emergencies, and numerous police officers were assaulted and injured by the mob that included some holding “Blue Lives Matter” flags purporting to support law enforcement.
The mob was incited by remarks made by President Donald Trump during an earlier rally in Washington, D.C.
Trump has repeatedly lied about the presidential election results, claiming he defeated Joe Biden in a landslide victory even though Biden handily won both the Electoral College vote and the national popular vote.
More than 50 lawsuits from Trump and others challenging the results have been rejected by state and federal courts across the nation, including by the U.S. Supreme Court. Many courts found the Trump lawsuits to be baseless, with no evidence supporting allegations of fraud.
As a result of the Wednesday afternoon attack on the Capitol, several Republican senators who had planned to join GOP congressmen in objecting to the results from six swing states opted to pull their support.
The objection to Arizona’s results was defeated 93-6 in the U.S. Senate and 303-121 in the House of Representatives, with Harris joining 120 Republican colleagues in support of the objection.
As the process continued, GOP objections to the results in Georgia, Michigan, and Nevada failed outright when not a single U.S. senator joined the dozens of congressional Republicans objecting to those states’ results. For an objection to be considered for discussion and a vote, at least one congressman and one senator must sign onto a written objection.
However, Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Missouri, joined GOP colleagues in the House in an objection to Pennsylvania’s results.
According to a report from Maryland Matters and States Newsroom:
Shortly after delivering his own remarks challenging Pennsylvania’s election results on the House floor in the early morning hours, Harris was among lawmakers who ran toward each other during a heated debate and had to be separated by a Capitol Hill staffer.
“It didn’t materialize out of nowhere,” Pennsylvania Rep. Conor Lamb (D) said of the unrest. “It was inspired by lies. The same lies that you’re hearing in this room tonight.”
Huffington Post reporter Matt Fuller tweeted that Harris was shouting “He called me a liar!” during the confrontation with Colin Allred (D-Texas).
Fuller later tweeted that a congressman said it was mostly Al Lawson, a Florida Democrat, and Harris in the argument, but Allred was among a group of members from both sides who converged in the aisle.
Several people commenting on Fuller’s tweet noted that Allred is a former NFL linebacker.
Below is a video of the comments Harris made during the debate on the Pennsylvania objection:
Nearly an hour later, Rep. Connor Lamb, D-Pennsylvania, spoke against the objection to his state’s electoral vote results. The argument involving Harris occurred during Lamb’s remarks and shouting can be heard on this video excerpt from C-SPAN.
As Lamb spoke, Rep. Morgan Griffith, a Virginia Republican, asked that his comments about Republicans lying be stricken from the record.
However, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Griffith’s objection was not timely and Lamb continued his remarks by noting: “The truth hurts.”
CNN reporter Kristin Wilson tweeted that Harris and Allred yelled at each other: to “sit down” “no, you sit down” from across the floor, then confronted each other in the aisle as a dozen members from each side joined them.
The objection to the Pennsylvania results was defeated in the House on a vote of 282-138. Harris was among the 138 Republican congressmen to vote for the objection.
The final objection — to the results in Wisconsin — also failed when no senator joined the objection.
The joint session of Congress ultimately certified Joe Biden’s presidential victory with an Electoral College vote of 306 to 232 for Trump.
Harris and Griffith were the only two Republican congressmen who voted against seating the newly elected House members from Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, Forbes reported.
A Republican Texas congressman opposed to efforts to reject the presidential results had challenged the seating of those House members, arguing that any voter fraud in those states would also affect the congressional results, according to Forbes.
By voting against that challenge, nearly all Republican congressmen essentially acknowledged the legitimacy of the congressional results in those states. Yet, a few days later, many of those GOP lawmakers said the presidential election results in those very same states should be rejected.