Mastriano says Legislature should overturn Trump loss

Jon Alexander
York Dispatch

A spokesperson for the state House Republican conference panned a local lawmaker's call to empower the legislature instead of state Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar to seat presidential electors, a move that would likely hand Pennsylvania to President Donald Trump. 

Appearing Friday on "Steve Bannon's War Room," a podcast hosted by Trump's former political adviser, state Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Adams, renewed calls for the General Assembly to seat electors friendly to Trump, rather than to Democrat Joe Biden, who won Pennsylvania by more than 80,000 votes.

"We're going to take our power back; we're going to seat the electors," Mastriano said. "Now, obviously, we're going to need the support of the leaders of the House and Senate."

The move was appropriate, he said without evidence, because Boockvar and other Democrats "cheated."

More than two dozen lawsuits filed by the Trump campaign in courts throughout the country have failed, largely due to a lack of supporting evidence of fraud. 

Republicans control both chambers of the Pennsylvania legislature, but leaders in the House and Senate have repeatedly rebuffed suggestions that they might move to overturn the results and award the state's 20 electors to Trump.

Jason Gottesman, a spokesperson for the House GOP, said Friday he was not aware of Mastriano's effort to have the legislature seat electors. But, he said, the position of that chamber's Republican leadership remained unchanged.

“Our position on the seating of electors has not changed, and we don’t have a role,” Gottesman said. 

Mastriano spent hours Friday morning lobbying fellow Republican lawmakers to support a joint resolution allowing them to seat presidential electors, he said. 

The legislature is scheduled to wrap up its term Monday, Gottesman added, leaving Mastriano little time to gather the support he would need to pass such a measure.

A phone message left Friday for Jenn Kocher, spokesperson for state Senate Republicans, was not immediately returned. A spokesperson for Mastriano did not immediately respond Friday to an email seeking comment. 

More:Pa. lawmakers go silent after Trump summons them to White House

Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Adams, speaks to thousands that attend a rally to reopen Pennsylvania in front of the Capitol Building in Harrisburg, Monday, April 20,2020.
John A. Pavoncello photo

On Wednesday, Mastriano spearheaded a state Senate hearing during which Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, repeated unfounded claims that President-elect Biden won only because of widespread voting fraud in urban counties.

On Friday, a federal appeals court tossed the Trump campaign's lawsuit alleging fraud, and in its opinion, the panel of judges said the campaign's lawsuit offers neither "specific allegations" of wrongdoing nor "evidence."

Later Wednesday, Trump invited several Republican state lawmakers to the White House. Earlier this month, Michigan lawmakers declined to take action after spending a day meeting with Trump. 

Pennsylvania, Michigan, Arizona and Georgia have been of special interest to Trump and his legal team since the Nov. 3. election. Combined, the swing states cost Trump a second term. 

"Biden can only enter the White House as President if he can prove that his ridiculous '80,000,000 votes' were not fraudulently or illegally obtained," Trump tweeted Friday. "When you see what happened in Detroit, Atlanta, Philadelphia & Milwaukee, massive voter fraud, he’s got a big unsolvable problem!"

The Electoral College meets Dec. 14. 

Also Friday, Mastriano's Twitter account was briefly suspended, prompting tweets from Trump lauding Mastriano's efforts to unearth "fraud." Twitter officials said it was an "error," reported Newsweek.