WASHINGTON, January 7, 2021 – Trevor Potter, president of Campaign Legal Center, and a Republican former chairman of the Federal Election Commission, released the following statement:
Democracy is how we settle our differences, not violence.
The attack on one our democracy’s most hallowed institutions was incited by the outgoing president, in violation of the sacred covenant between the government and its people. The president has refused to accept the verdict of the American people in an election which every state has certified, after recounts, court challenges and investigations for fraud overseen by the Attorney General he appointed, Bill Barr. As a result of the president’s campaign to discredit the election, millions of Americans have been falsely convinced that the election was stolen, despite all evidence to the contrary.
The president repeatedly urged tens of thousands of supporters to come to Washington on the day the Congress was counting the results of the Electoral College for a “wild” time, and then he and his agents spoke at the rally and incited the crowd to go to the U.S. Capitol, with predictable results. The president publicly called on the vice president to commit unconstitutional acts and attacked him for refusing. These actions deeply wound our democracy and go to the heart of the president’s violation of his oath of office.
The president’s words and conduct constitute an active and immediate threat to our democracy. He must be removed from office, with the vice president serving out the remainder of this term. His conduct while in office has shown he cannot be trusted with public office, so Congress should act to ensure he cannot hold federal office in the future.
We have a duty as Americans to accept the results of elections, even if the candidate we supported does not win. While it’s a relief that a violent attempt to prevent the counting of the Electoral College votes in our presidential election failed, the fact it was encouraged by the president and attempted by the crowds he summoned to Washington reflects a deeper decay in public confidence in our democracy.
We are at an inflection point in our nation, and the world is watching. To maintain credibility in American efforts to promote democracy abroad, our leaders must stand up and reject the poisoning of democracy at home. To restore our democracy, people must have faith in government again. The first priority of the new Congress must be to pursue legislation that will strengthen electoral safeguards and bring Americans a more inclusive democracy.