Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Majority Whip Tom Emmer arrives at a House Republican Caucus meeting at the U.S. Capitol on September 19, 2023.
After the 2020 election, Tom Emmer, a leading Republican candidate for House speaker, baselessly said there were “questionable” practices in the 2020 presidential election.
Emmer later signed an amicus brief in support of a last-minute lawsuit in Texas seeking to overturn the results in key states.
Although he would vote to certify the results on January 6, 2021, comments and actions show that Emmer flirted with some of the same election denial rhetoric as far-right members of the Republican caucus.
Speaking to far-right publication Breitbart News’ radio show 12 days after the election, Emmer baselessly suggested that mail-in votes could have “skewed” the election against Trump.
“I think the courts will see, at least, this president is making sure he stays focused and his team stays focused on these questionable election practices,” Emmer said. saying. “We’re going to find out, if it’s accurate, the extent to which they distorted the outcome of the election in Georgia and elsewhere.”
“One of my colleagues told me in Georgia that where we get voter ID we’re doing very well, where we can’t reasonably identify the voter, they kill us,” he added, saying he hoped the state would restrict voting by mail in the upcoming election. Georgia Senate runoff election in January.
Emmer appeared calmer than many Republicans after the 2020 election. But in interviews and public comments, reviewed by CNN’s KFile before the presidential vote, Emmer refused to say Biden won the election and criticized the press for calling the race.
Speaking to local media in early December 2020, after the results had been certified in all the swing states: Emmer attacked the press for calling the race for Joe Biden.
“Everyone has the right to count every vote. Right now, we are in a process in which the media wants to call the race, the media wants to create this situation in which they are the ones who determine when people finish the process,” Emmer. saying. “It’s about making sure that everyone – the people who voted for Joe Biden, the people who voted for Donald Trump or the people who voted for someone else – know that every legitimate vote is counted and have confidence in the result.
“There is a process,” Emmer added. “The process is that votes are cast, if there is any doubt, there are recounts, there are signature verifications. Across the country this time, mail-in ballots threw a whole new curve ball. And then, if there are specific areas where there is more to do, you have the right to go to court to obtain a difference of opinion result. All of that is following the process. It will be resolved soon.”
Emmer then defended signature of the amicus curiae brief in support of the Texas lawsuit archived by Attorney General Ken Paxton to invalidate 62 electoral votes in swing states won by Biden, which would have effectively thrown the election to Trump. The demand was refused by the Supreme Court of the United States.
“This brief asserts that the democratic right of state legislatures to make appointments to the Electoral College was violated in several states,” Emmer said in a statement published in the local newspaper St. Cloud Times. “All legal votes must be counted and the process followed; the integrity of current and future elections depends on this premise and this lawsuit is part of that process.”
Speaking in a forum on December 17, 2020, Emmer admitted Biden’s victory was certified by the Electoral College days earlier, but he said the process had not yet played out and declined to call Biden president-elect when asked.
“The media would like to declare the definitive end of this process. I think certain elected officials would like to declare an end to this process, but as someone who was in a recount 10 years ago, I know we have to respect the process whether they agree with it or not,” Emmer said. “Because once it’s over, there will be people who will be on one side or the other, and everyone should be satisfied that our election was conducted fairly and transparently.”