Joe Biden is to speak before a joint Congress session next week, and several Republican lawmakers are saying they won’t attend.
Democrats will undoubtedly claim that the Republicans in Congress don’t want to unify the country, but most members can’t attend anyway due to Covid restrictions.
According to the reports, Biden will only address an audience of about 200.
Punchbowl published a newsletter where they asked Republican members if they wanted to participate in some of the scarce seats next week, and here are some responses:1
→ WE ASKED SEN. TOM COTTON (R-ARK.), AS HE BOARDED AN ELEVATOR OFF THE SENATE FLOOR IF HE PLANNED TO ATTEND: “HA. NO COMMENT.”
→ SEN. JONI ERNST (R-IOWA) — A MEMBER OF THE SENATE GOP LEADERSHIP — ON WHETHER SHE’LL GO TO THE SPEECH: “NOT THAT I’M AWARE OF. I DON’T THINK I’LL PROBABLY ATTEND.”
→ SEN. JOSH HAWLEY (R-MO.): “I DON’T KNOW THE ANSWER TO THAT … I HAVEN’T DECIDED.” Q: WOULD YOU GO IF YOU COULD? “I WENT TO THE INAUGURAL, I’VE BEEN TO BOTH STATES OF THE UNION SO FAR … I DON’T KNOW IF I’LL GO TO THIS ONE OR NOT. WE’LL SEE.”
→ REP. RODNEY DAVIS (R-ILL.): “I’M NOT GOING TO GO. THEY ANNOUNCED IT LATE AND WE ALREADY HAVE PLANS FOR OUR WEEK NOT BEING HERE.”
→ REP. GREG PENCE (R-IND.): “I AM NOT. I HAVE A LINCOLN DAY DINNER BACK AT HOME.”
→ REP. NANCY MACE (R-S.C.): “NO BECAUSE THAT’S AN IN-DISTRICT WEEK, SO I’LL BE IN THE DISTRICT.”
→ REP. CATHY MCMORRIS ROGERS (R-WASH.): “NO. … I HAVEN’T BEEN INVITED. I DID ATTEND HIS INAUGURATION. I MADE A SPECIAL TRIP TO COME OUT HERE — HAD TO COME OUT HERE TWO DAYS EARLY TO GET TESTED.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham told Punchbowl he didn’t plan to attend even though he thought Biden was “a fine man.”