Scott Franklin of Lakeland had a memorable fourth day as a member of Congress. On Wednesday afternoon, he was forced to evacuate the House chamber when a pro-Trump mob breached the Capitol. Later that night and the following morning, he joined more than 100 fellow Republicans in voting to object to the Electoral College votes in Arizona and Pennsylvania. Both of those initiatives failed, and Joe Biden was declared the presidential winner at 3:41 a.m.
Franklin, who was sworn in Sunday to represent Florida’s 15th District in the House of Representatives, was in the House chamber Wednesday afternoon when a mob infiltrated while members debated the challenge to Arizona’s 11 electoral votes.
After the House members were forced to evacuate around 2:30 p.m., Franklin texted LkldNow correspondent Rick Rousos that he was OK: “All safe. The chamber was breached and we evacuated to a safe location.”
By 5:50 p.m., officials declared the Capitol secure, and at 6:15 Franklin issued a statement confirming he would follow though with his intention to challenge the electoral votes of several states. His statement:
“Today will go down as a very dark day in America’s history. Make no mistake, the violence demonstrated in the Capitol today is inexcusable and cannot be tolerated. It is un-American and counter to everything that has made our country a shining city on a hill for the past 244 years. We will not be goaded into any course of action under threat by anarchists.
“That said, I have sworn an oath to defend the Constitution and will do so. I think Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin have presented Electoral College slates that were elected illegally because they were not done in accordance with the laws enacted by their legislatures. It’s not within the scope of Congress’ authority to assess fraud or simply decree another slate of electors (nor should we), but it is our sworn duty to ensure the names presented to us were done so legally. That’s the basis of my objection and I stand by it, irrespective of who occupies the Oval Office.”
The House and Senate ended up voting on the challenges to the Arizona and Pennsylvania electors, and rejected both of them. There were no votes on the Georgia and Wisconsin electors. The bid to challenge the Georgia electors died when senators who had been expected to sign on to the objection withdrew their support following the afternoon violence.
On the Arizona challenge, Franklin joined 121 Republicans in objecting to the electors on Wednesday night. On Pennsylvania, he joined 138 Republicans objecting to the electors early this morning. The tallies were 303-121 on Arizona and 282-138 on Pennsylvania.
Both of Florida’s U.S. senators, Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, sided with the majority in a 93-6 vote to uphold the Arizona electors. They split on the Pennsylvania electors, with Rubio joining the 92-7 majority to reject the objection, and Scott voting to sustain the objection.