Both Texas Republican Senators — Ted Cruz and John Cornyn will both attend President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday.
The news of Cruz attendance was seen as unexpected and first broke by KXAN Austin on Friday. Cornyn responded to a reporter’s tweet shortly after breaking the news that Cruz will be in attendance, quote-tweeting with a response saying, “see you there.”
Cruz’s office confirmed that he plans to attend the inauguration, but did not respond to other questions.
Following the announcement that Cruz would attend the inauguration, former Democratic Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke tweeted his opposition to the Texas Senator attending the ceremony, accusing him of sedition and inciting the violent insurrectionists that lead to the death of five people.
“Don’t let Cruz attend the inauguration. His attempt at sedition and his incitement to violent insurrectionists should result in his expulsion from the Senate. He certainly shouldn’t be allowed at a celebration of the peaceful transfer of presidential power,” O’Rourke, who ran against Cruz for his Senate seat in 2018 tweeted.
There have been multiple calls from Texas Democratic Party, along with several Democratic lawmakers and activist groups for Cruz to resign since rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan 6. The Texas Democratic Party are also calling on the Justice Department to investigate the actions that led to the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol, telling the Dallas Morning News that, although it appeared “clear” that President Trump incited the riots at the Capitol, Cruz bore some of the blame for “promoting Trump’s lies” on election fraud.
“Ted Cruz led a charge of the ‘Sedition Caucus,’ which ignited the people who stormed the U.S. Capitol and brought gunshots and violence,” Ed Espinoza, executive director at Progress Texas said. “Cruz’s act of political theater has brought domestic terrorism to our nation’s Capitol.”
Several Democratic lawmakers have called on both Cruz and Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) to resign, citing the senators’ vocal opposition to the certification of the election result before the violence at the Capitol.
Biden has also criticized the pair of GOP senators, saying that Cruz and Hawley should be “flat beaten” in their next elections, while casting them as Nazis for their part in spreading “the big lie,” a term coined by Joseph Goebbels, Reich minister of propaganda of Nazi Germany.
“I think they should be just flat beaten the next time they run,” Biden said in response when asked if Cruz and Hawley should step down. “The American public has a real good clear look at who they are. They’re part of the big lie, the big lie.”
“If [Trump] is the only one saying it, that’s one thing, but the acolytes that follow him like Cruz and others, they are as responsible as he is. And so it’s not about whether or not they get impeached, it’s about whether or not they can continue to hold power because of the disgust the American people have for their actions. There are decent people out there who actually believe these lies because they’ve heard it again and again,” Biden added. “I was pleased to hear some of the more prominent Republicans say to me that the Ted Cruzes of the world are as responsible in terms of people believing the lies, not as responsible but similarly responsible like Trump.”
Earlier this month, Cruz led a group of about a dozen colleagues, dubbed the “Cruz Eleven” that would challenge certain battleground states Electoral College vote. The group emphasized their effort wasn’t an attempt to overturn the election, but rather aimed to protect “election integrity.”
Republicans involved include Sens. Ron Johnson (R-WI), James Lankford (R-OK), Steve Daines (R-MO), John Kennedy (R-LA), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), and Mike Braun (R-IN), as well as Sens.-elect Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Roger Marshall (R-KA), Bill Hagerty (R-TN) and Tommy Tuberville (R-AL).
“A fair and credible audit—conducted expeditiously and completed well before January 20—would dramatically improve Americans’ faith in our electoral process and would significantly enhance the legitimacy of whoever becomes our next President. We owe that to the People,” the senators said in a joint statement, adding that Congress’ vote on January 6 is the “lone constitutional power remaining to consider and force resolution of the multiple allegations of serious voter fraud.”
The senators demand that Congress immediately appoint an Electoral Commission to pursue a full investigation and an emergency 10-day audit of election numbers in disputed states, saying an emergency audit was necessary to restore public confidence in the electoral process.
Just shortly before the rioters breached the U.S. Capitol and disrupted the certification process, Cruz was leading the objection to certify Arizona’s electoral votes.
Cruz quickly denounced the rioters’ actions.
“Millions of Americans who have peacefully expressed their deep concerns regarding election integrity deserve to have their voices heard,” Cruz said in a statement after the Capitol siege. “I very much wish Congress had not set aside these concerns, but I respect the position each of my colleagues took. Debate in the two houses of Congress is the proper way to resolve our political differences, not through violent attacks.”
Meanwhile, Cornyn attendance was not seen as controversial as he voted against Cruz’s objection to the election certification and acknowledged Biden’s presidential victory last month.
“I am disappointed by the election results. Any one person’s disappointment, however, cannot and should not override the legitimate votes of millions of Americans and our duty to uphold the Constitution and laws of the United States,” Cornyn wrote in a letter prior to the Capitol riot. “Doing so would be a violation of my oath, do irreparable harm to our great democracy, and set a dangerous precedent for future elections.”
On Friday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s office told KVUE-TV that he would not attend the inauguration ceremony.
Trump announced in his final tweet before Twitter suspended him indefinitely that he would not be attending Biden’s swearing-in ceremony. Vice President Mike Pence, however, is reportedly expected to attend the event.