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Editorial: Remember the Florida Republicans who did nothing while Trump threatened American democracy

Orlando Sentinel Editorial Board, Orlando Sentinel on

Published in News & Features

In the year 2020, when a United States president, for the first time in history, tried to hijack an American election, Florida’s elected leaders faced these options:

1. Aid the president’s wrongdoing.

2. Allow the hijacking to take place by remaining silent.

3. Denounce the hijacking and the damage it’s doing to democracy.

Here in Florida, a few — including the governor — aided Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn the election. Most Republicans, like Florida’s U.S. senators, chose to remain silent and do nothing. You can count on one hand the prominent Republicans who spoke out against Trump’s efforts and the tactics of his legal team.

That’s how history will remember these Republican men and women of Florida, who chose party and power over a centuries-old tradition of Americans freely choosing a president, followed by a peaceful transfer of power.

 

Other states can point with pride to Republicans who defied President Donald Trump’s efforts to undermine democracy.

Georgia had Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who did his job and counted the votes, staring down fellow party members who tried to cajole and intimidate him into casting doubt on the outcome. The Peach State also can take pride in the grit shown by Gabriel Sterling, a Republican elections official who on Tuesday implored the president to “stop inspiring people to commit potential acts of violence.”

Michigan had Aaron Van Langevelde, a little known but principled state canvasser who faced similar pressure from his party but voted to fulfill his duty and certify the state election results.

Utah had Mitt Romney, the U.S. senator and one-time presidential candidate who was not only among the first prominent elected Republicans to congratulate Joe Biden on winning the presidency but one of the few willing to denounce Trump for trying to subvert a national election.

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