For weeks, Sens. Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty pledged to vote to overturn the election results, alluded to false claims of voter fraud in some states and questioned the legitimacy of the election for weeks.
But late Wednesday night, they both flipped and voted to not block the results of the electoral college in Arizona. Congress convened into the wee hours of the morning to certify the election results for President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
The backtracking by Blackburn and Hagerty followed a day of chaos, as the U.S. Capitol went on lockdown Wednesday afternoon and pro-Trump extremists stormed the building.
All of the Tennessee lawmakers in D.C. — Democrat and Republican — have condemned the mob’s actions. But the Republican delegation has supported the election conspiracy theories that served as a motivation for the chaos.
The mob stormed the U.S. Capitol as Congress was debating whether to certify the electoral votes of the state of Arizona, a state won by President-elect Joe Biden.
In an interview with WPLN News, Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tenn., said his staff had to barricade in their office, using a desk to block the door. He said the mob inside the Capitol are engaging in “sedition” and was encouraged by the president.
“It’s one thing to be attacked by a foreign power. It’s another thing for our own people to have all this misplaced anger. So the president is trying to claim power, he’s willing to do anything to keep it,” Cooper said. “These are not bad people but they’ve been fed lies and they’ve acted on those lies. And I’m hopeful that sensible Tennesseans will come to their senses and do better.”
In a tweet, Blackburn said she was sheltering in place.
“These actions at the US Capitol by protestors are truly despicable and unacceptable,” Blackburn tweeted at 1:56 p.m. “I condemn them in the strongest possible terms. We are a nation of laws.”
These actions at the US Capitol by protestors are truly despicable and unacceptable. While I am safe and sheltering in place, these protests are prohibiting us from doing our constitutional duty. I condemn them in the strongest possible terms. We are a nation of laws.
— Sen. Marsha Blackburn (@MarshaBlackburn) January 6, 2021
Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., said in a tweet that he had to wear a gas mask to exit the House chamber. Other lawmakers stated the same thing.
Safely in my office . Masked and got out. Trump is an enemy of America
— Steve Cohen (@RepCohen) January 6, 2021
This story was updated at 2:45 a.m., January 7.