Donald Trump may have found the senator he needs to challenge the election results in Congress—and it’s the guy who can’t name the three branches of government. Alabama Sen.-elect Tommy Tuberville said Thursday he might join with some far-right members of the House to challenge the results as Congress certifies the results of the Electoral College. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is not going to like this, having already warned Senate Republicans that it would be a “terrible vote,” forcing them to look anti-Trump by voting to uphold the election results.
But Tuberville’s plan to try to help overturn the election results had the intended effect: a barrage of glowing tweets from Trump. Tuberville is “a great champion and man of courage. More Republican Senators should follow his lead,” according to one tweet. “We had a landslide victory, and then it was swindled away from the Republican Party – but we caught them. Do something!” Every part of this is false, of course.
Less than an hour later: “Tommy will be more popular than ever before – a hero!” And “Thank you!” And then a barrage of retweets of Trump supporters exulting in Tuberville’s plan. A little later, “I am very disappointed in the United States Supreme Court, and so is our great country!” The man was really in a desperate false hope/grief/rage/denial spiral Thursday evening.
Around the same time Trump went off on this tear, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany put on her campaign hat and lied about the election, insisting that the results had been suspicious in ways they simply were not and holding out hope to supporters that “litigation is ongoing”—despite those multiple rejections from the Supreme Court and dozens of rejections from lower courts.
Tuberville can definitely complicate the vote certification process in Congress, making it take hours longer and creating kind of a mess. He can’t stop Joe Biden from becoming president, given McConnell’s refusal to go along. But Trump’s refusal to acknowledge reality is getting new fuel, priming the country for weeks more ugliness and for Trump’s supporters to continue digging in in the belief that Biden’s presidency will not be legitimate. The only good that can come out of this is if Trump’s base turns against congressional Republicans who vote to uphold the will of the voters, and even that is not what you’d call a good outcome.