Cathy McMorris Rodgers revealed yesterday that she is aligning herself with the faction of the Republican Party that is seeking to throw out the results of the 2020 United States presidential election and unconstitutionally, illegally keep Donald Trump in power through the inverse of a coup d’état.
The Spokane-based Republican, who represents the 5th Congressional District (Eastern Washington) will be joined by militant right wing U.S. Representative Russ Fulcher of Idaho in the doomed effort to keep Trump’s presidency going.
The Inland Northwest lawmakers represent one side of a dramatic rift in the GOP as roughly half of congressional Republicans question the legitimacy of November’s vote, amplifying President Donald Trump’s baseless claim that the election was rigged.
The Trump campaign has repeatedly failed to prove its allegations of widespread voter fraud, with Trump-appointed judges, Republican election officials and former Attorney General Bill Barr all saying no such evidence exists.
McMorris Rodgers will have the distinction of being the only Republican from Washington State to participate in the plot, as the state’s other two Republicans have announced they will not be objecting to the election results.
Other Republicans, including Washington Representatives Dan Newhouse and Jaime Herrera Beutler, have said they will vote to certify the election results. Newhouse and Herrera Beutler joined eleven other GOP lawmakers Tuesday in a letter arguing that only states have the authority to appoint electors, while citing unspecified “abuses” and saying, “People cannot trust a system that refuses to guarantee that only legal votes are cast.”
“Disenfranchising voters to satisfy the whims of President Trump betrays the Constitution. No evidence exists to justify an objection to the electoral count. President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris won. Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers knows that. This mark of dishonor will last through the ages,” said Washington State Governor Jay Inslee in response.
Last month, McMorris Rodgers belatedly acknowledged that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris had won the 2020 presidential election in a not very gracious statement.
The statement read:
I want to thank President Trump for four years of strong leadership for our country. Even this week, we are seeing the results of his vision with the approval and distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine far more quickly than experts said was possible. I also want to congratulate former U.S. Senator and Vice President Joe Biden on his election as President of the United States.
While we may disagree, particularly on issues like Medicare for All and the Green New Deal, my goal is to find common ground when possible to get results for people in Eastern Washington. I will also be committed to holding the Biden administration accountable to protect life and free speech, fight for freedom, and to ensure we renew, rebuild, and restore the American Dream. It takes each one of us doing our part to build a more perfect union.
McMorris Rodgers appears to be one of those Republicans who is joining in the plot to overturn the election not because she really believes in the conspiracy theories espoused by so many of Trump’s rabid followers, but because she has calculated that it’s just good politics to be in the good graces of the Trump cult.
Along with Newhouse, McMorris Rodgers participated in Ken Paxton’s failed lawsuit asking the United States Supreme Court to toss out the electoral votes of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Georgia. This ill-fated move earned the duo strong rebukes from Washington State’s editorial boards.
“Through their poor decisions, McMorris Rodgers and Newhouse helped attack the other states for election practices Washington has proudly pioneered,” The Seattle Times wrote. “Even though this anti-democratic attack failed, voters should hold Newhouse and McMorris Rodgers accountable for taking part.”
“Infamy will stick to two Washington state representatives for backing Trump lawsuit,” The News Tribune of Tacoma declared. “Worse than throwing red meat to conspiracy mongers, two Washington members of Congress attempted to debilitate our democracy, a fact that’s been signed and sealed for posterity.”
“It is obvious that both Newhouse and McMorris Rodgers still have work to do to restore credibility to a system they badly damaged,” concurred the Tri-City Herald.
An Oregon native, McMorris Rodgers began her political career in the Washington State House of Representatives in 1994. She was chosen as the House Minority Leader in 2001, and was Speaker Frank Chopp’s counterpart until she left the Legislature to take over for George Nethercutt, who vacated his seat in 2004 to unsuccessfully challenge Washington’s senior U.S. Senator Patty Murray.
McMorris Rodgers became House Republican Conference Chair in 2013, one of the caucus’ most powerful positions. She relinquished the role in 2019, following House Republicans’ pummeling in the 2018 midterm elections, and was succeeded by Liz Cheney of Wyoming, Dick Cheney’s daughter.
Though McMorris Rodgers has always been able to win reelection, she is a polarizing figure in Eastern Washington. Her Democratic constituents have an extremely low opinion of her; many own signs or decals that read “Dump Cathy!”
A fundamentalist theocon, McMorris Rodgers has an extremely right wing voting record and is, according to ProgressivePunch, the most right wing member of Washington State’s congressional delegation, with a composite score of 4.03%. (Dan Newhouse has a score of 6.03%, which isn’t much better. For context, Pramila Jayapal’s score is 99.18%. Jayapal represents the 7th District.)
McMorris Rodgers’ most successful Democratic challenger to date has been former State Senator Majority Leader Lisa Brown, who held McMorris Rodgers to 55% of the vote in 2018. McMorris Rodgers had previously won several campaigns by margins of greater than twenty points. Brown now runs the Department of Commerce as one of Governor Jay Inslee’s agency directors.