In the afternoon of January 6, Sen. James Lankford spoke on the Senate floor to explain why he was against certifying Joe Biden’s victory. He stated that the “constitutional crisis” in America was not due to many Republicans rejecting the election verdict but rather because millions of Americans are being told, “sit down and shut your mouth.”
Just a few minutes later, a staffer interrupting the speech of the Oklahoma Republican interrupted it and asked senators to leave. That night, after a pro-Trump mob breached the Capitol, attacked police officers, and forced its representatives to seek shelter, Lankford changed his position, voting to certify the 2020 election, and announced that the Senate would work “to set a peaceful example.”
Instead of healing the wounds from a violent riot Lankford’s election has only opened them up in Oklahoma. Trump supporters are considering backing Jackson Lahmeyer, the Republican challenger to Lankford. This is despite Trump not having endorsed anyone yet and the Democrats continuing to attack the senator for refusing certification.
Lankford, facing backlash from the left as well as some from the pro-Trump right acknowledged that Biden was president in an interview but questioned if his victory was valid.
“Biden, the Constitutional President. There is no question about that,” Lankford stated to CNN. Are there still questions? Yes.
Lankford was asked if these questions would have changed the outcome in 2020. He replied that there is no way to know because it’s impossible to get an answer to all of them.
He said, “I am not trying to be coy about this.” It’s still unknown at the moment. “I just want to answer all questions so that people know the truth.”
In the Electoral College, Biden defeated Donald Trump by 306-232. Numerous recounts confirmed the result. Trump’s legal team and his supporters failed in dozens of contests in court. Trump’s claim that the election was stolen has won the support of a majority Republican, influencing the future of the GOP as well as creating a litmus test for the US Senate race in Oklahoma.
John Bennett, the state party chairman, has endorsed Lahmeyer in recent weeks. Lankford acknowledged that this was an unusual move from a top party official, who should be loyal or at least neutral to an incumbent senator. On July 17, Lankford was defeated by 93 votes to 122 a measure of Oklahoma Republican Party members to censure him. He was also asked to resign in the non-binding resolution.
CNN interview: Lahmeyer claims the “momentum,” building a Senate campaign from a simple lie.
Lahmeyer stated, “I know Donald Trump won 2020,” “You’re going to try to say that Joe Biden received 80 million votes?” That is a lie.
Lankford is still the clear frontrunner. Nearly 90% of Trump’s votes were cast by the incumbent. He has the endorsements of the governor, lieutenant governor of Oklahoma, and nearly all the members of Oklahoma’s Congress. He has almost $1.5 million in campaign war funds, more than Lahmeyer, and the support of the Senate’s electoral arm.
Lahmeyer is a political newcomer boasting the support of Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser who received from the former president a pardon after pleading guilty to lying to the FBI.
However, many Oklahoma Republican activists who believed Trump won the election voted against Lankford after the vote to certify it. Kyle Brown, the GOP chairman in Logan County north Oklahoma City said that he supported Lahmeyer despite it being an “uphill struggle” and criticized Lankford for “inability to stand for anything.” Brown stated that the pastor can win if people “remember and remain disgruntled.”
Lankford has made efforts to calm his critics over the past few months. Lankford offered an apology to the Black community of Oklahoma in January for opposing certification of the election. Black leaders claimed that he would not allow Black voters to vote in battleground states such as Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. In May, Lankford was removed from the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission.
Both the Democrats and the pro-Trump right are not appeased. CNN was told by Lahmeyer that it was a racist commission and Lankford shouldn’t have been there. Oklahoma Democratic Party chair Alicia Andrews called his apology letter “cringy”, disgusting, and tone-deaf.”
Lankford defends his conservative credentials
Lankford, who had announced his opposition to Biden’s nominees in July protested Trump’s decision not to continue building Trump’s wall at the US-Mexico frontier, called for a boycott of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream after it pulled its products from the West Bank. He then withdrew the amendment amid criticism.
Lankford stated that he has “a lot” of support and that the voters should decide the criteria for conservatism. While Lankford said that some people in the United States have emulated Trump, he declined to state whether he sought his endorsement.
It’s fascinating. Lankford said that he does hear from some people who claim they are trying to exonerate Trump Trump. “Some people believe conservatism is about being the loudest or angriest. It’s not about who wins the day, it’s about a group of ideas that wins the day.
Although many Republicans have visited Trump to get his endorsement or win his support for their party, Lankford has not made the pilgrimage to Trump’s homes in Florida and New Jersey. Lankford said that Trump wanted his support and didn’t consider it more important than any other endorsements he had received from the GOP. “Sure. “Why not?” he asked. He asked. “I’ll add as much as I can.”
As a final loyalty test, the former President uses the second impeachment case. He pledged to run in 2022 against 11 Republicans, the 10 House Republicans that voted to impeach him for the “incitement to insurrection” charge, and Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski who voted in his favor.
Even Republicans such as Lankford who voted to acquit Trump have attracted primary opponents that are even more dedicated to him. Trump has endorsed Ted Budd of North Carolina and Mo Brooks of Alabama, who were the leaders in Congress’s charge to reverse the election. They are both Republicans, despite being a former governor and congressman, ambassador, business leader, and Congressman. After claiming that Trump “has some responsibility” for January 6, Arkansas Senator John Boozman is now facing GOP challengers. He stated in his statement that Trump’s vote to acquit was because he claimed that Trump carries “some responsibility”.
Lankford also stated that he acquitted Trump as the Senate cannot remove an incumbent from office. However, if Trump were to be convicted, he would have been disqualified from any future office. This vote probably prevented political fallout in Oklahoma where Trump won all of the 77 counties and beat Biden by 33 percent. Trump was better in West Virginia and Wyoming in 2020.
The state’s congressional delegation reflected the split in the GOP state over January 6. The election was not certified by all five members of Oklahoma’s House. However, Oklahoma Republican Senator Jim Inhofe voted for it with Lankford and defended it as the “constitutional vote”.
Inhofe stated, “I don’t believe there is anyone else who has voted [further right] than I have in terms conservative votes.” “There’s no reason to take a test based on one issue.”