Florida’s Republican U.S. senators took decidedly different paths when voting on whether to certify results of the 2020 presidential election during a joint session of Congress that lasted into the wee hours last Thursday morning.
Congress cemented President-elect Joe Biden’s victory after supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol last Wednesday and put a halt to debate as senators, U.S. representatives and aides were rushed to safety.
When lawmakers reconvened later that day, Republican U.S. Sen. Rick Scott was among seven senators who voted to reject Pennsylvania’s electors. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, however, voted not to sustain any objections to states’ electors.
Scott, a former Florida governor who heads the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said in a prepared statement that Pennsylvania enacted election policies “in direct conflict with its own state Constitution.”
The legal challenge to Pennsylvania's election, ultimately rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court, hinged in part on a Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling in favor of expanding allowable vote-by-mail ballots. Scott contends the move was “in defiance of [Pennsylvania] state law.”
“We simply cannot tolerate partisan political attempts to change the rules and tip the scales in our elections,” Scott wrote in a statement.
The Senate ultimately voted 92-7 to accept the results of Pennsylvania’s election.
Trump has repeatedly called the election results “rigged” and fraudulent, despite a lack of evidence to support such claims.
Rubio, using most of his allotted 5 minutes during the Senate debate on an objection to Arizona’s electors that ultimately failed, told colleagues he heard from supporters and friends on his “side of the political aisle” leading up to his vote.
“And they have doubts that the election was legitimate and it gives this country this extraordinary crisis of confidence, which is very dangerous because democracy is very fragile and it's not held together by elections,” said Rubio, the son of Cuban immigrants. “Democracy is held together by people's confidence in the election and a willingness to abide by its results.”
Rubio and Scott were among myriad Florida Republicans who rushed to condemn Wednesday’s violence in the halls of Congress.
During his floor remarks, Rubio said the display made a mockery of U.S. politics and delighted foreign adversaries.
“There’s nothing that Vladimir Putin could come up with better than what happened here,” he said.
Despite the historic insurrection, Florida Republicans have remained hesitant to criticize Trump by name, instead tailoring barbs to those who overran the Capitol building in what Biden called a “dark moment” in the nation’s history.
“The thugs who stormed the Capitol need to be arrested and prosecuted,” Scott tweeted, urging anyone who has information to “please contact the authorities.”
Florida Democrats blamed Wednesday’s violence on Republican lawmakers who supported Trump’s baseless claims.
Below is a list of U.S. House and Senate delegation members from Miami-Dade and Broward counties and how they voted on that fateful night. Republican Maria Elvira Salazar, the newly elected representative for District 27, was not present at the Capital and did not vote, due to her recuperation from COVID-19, for which she tested positive in late December.