Rallying Behind Trump, Most House Republicans Joined Failed Lawsuit

While the legal case may be over, the reverberations were still being felt within the party and across the country. The Orlando Sentinel took aim at Representative Michael Waltz, Republican of Florida, who had signed onto the brief, in a blistering editorial apologizing for endorsing him in his 2020 campaign.

“We had no idea, had no way of knowing at the time, that Waltz was not committed to democracy,” the editorial board wrote.

Democrats joined in the rebukes, calling Republicans’ actions dangerous and destructive. Representative Bill Pascrell of New Jersey called on House leaders not to seat the Republicans who signed onto the brief in the new Congress, accusing them of traitorous behavior. In a letter to colleagues on Friday before the Supreme Court ruled, Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California called the lawsuit “an act of flailing G.O.P. desperation.”

“Republicans are subverting the Constitution by their reckless and fruitless assault on our democracy,” Ms. Pelosi wrote, “which threatens to seriously erode public trust in our most sacred democratic institutions, and to set back our progress on the urgent challenges ahead.”

Polls show that most Republicans do not believe the election was legitimate, and the participation of members of Congress in the lawsuit reflected their refusal to stand up to Mr. Trump or challenge their constituents’ beliefs, fueled by the president’s claims and amplified in conservative media.

“House Republicans wake up in the morning afraid of being primaried,” said Alex Conant, a Republican strategist. “In 2022, loyalty to Trump could be a litmus test in the primary. Republicans aren’t signing on because they’re impressed with the legal argument. They’re signing on because they’re afraid of their base.”

Time and again throughout his presidency, Mr. Trump has challenged Republicans to support him in his often outlandish behavior, lashing out at those who do not go along and threatening them with electoral defeat. Most recently, the president has attacked Republican officials in Georgia over failing to subvert the will of the voters.

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