Reps. Harris, Allred nearly get into fistfight during election certification: report
The altercation was avoided after almost a dozen lawmakers stepped up to deescalate the nearly violent situation.
Members of the Republican and Democratic party almost escalated to physical violence during the early Thursday morning debate to certify Pennsylvania’s electoral votes.
Reps. Andy Harris (R-Md.) and Colin Allred (D-Tex.), had a high volume verbal exchange before meeting in the aisle. The Washington Post reported the fight followed a speech from Rep. Conor Lamb.
During the speech, he said GOP members who objected to President-elect Joe Biden’s confirmation did not need to “strip this Congress of its dignity” according to the outlet.
He referenced the violent mob that stormed the Capitol on Wednesday in support of President Donald Trump.
“We know that that attack today, it didn’t materialize out of nowhere, it was inspired by lies — the same lies that you’re hearing in this room tonight,” Lamb remarked, according to the Post. “The members who are repeating those lies should be ashamed of themselves, their constituents should be ashamed of them.”
Some opposed his viewpoint and the meeting intensified. Rep. H. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.) moved to have the comments struck from the record, the Post reported. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi denied the request and Lamb continued to vocally express his opinion, exclaiming “the truth hurts,” according to the outlet.
As he spoke, Harris and Allred began to yell at each other to sit down before meeting in the aisle. Multiple members immediately joined them in an effort to prevent a fistfight. Pelosi repeatedly called for order, banging her gavel. According to the Post, Rep. Al Lawson (D-Fla.) was also involved.
Although the argument cannot be seen, you can hear the heated exchange in the video below.
There have been calls for Harris to step down or be fired for his stance on Biden’s victory. Del. Eric Luedtke of Maryland and the Maryland Democratic Party shared messages calling for his resignation or removal on social media.
“Every Maryland leader who cares about the Constitution – Democrats, and Republicans both – should come together to remove Andy Harris from office at the earliest opportunity,” Luedtke said. “His support for overthrowing a legitimate democratic election demonstrates that he is unfit to serve.”
“Representative Andy Harris has sought to undermine the will of voters across Maryland and our nation. Join us in calling for the immediate resignation of Representative Andy Harris,” wrote the Maryland Democratic Party sharing a link to a petition.
Rep. Harris released a statement in response to the call for his resignation, relaying the message that he will not step down.
“I have routinely and consistently rejected violent protests, whether in the case of yesterday, or last summer. Democrats are calling for unity, yet also calling for the expulsion of Members who objected in yesterday’s Electoral College count. Today, some Marylanders are even calling for my resignation, which I will not do,” he wrote.
theGrio reported Congress rejected challenges to Biden’s win in both Pennsylvania and Arizona. In total, 138 Republicans voted to confirm the objection of Pennsylvania’s election results, while 64 voted against it. No Democrats supported the objection.
Six Republican senators and 121 Republican members of the House of Representatives continued to support the objection of Arizona’s votes.
Congressman Allred released a statement declining involvement in an alleged near-brawl and said he only stepped in to calm the situation.
“After seeing a disagreement between Members verge on physical confrontation, Congressman Allred approached his colleagues on both sides of the aisle with the hopes of diffusing the situation and bringing down tensions. He was not involved in the initial confrontation and at no point did he near physical violence,” the statement said.
Harris also described Allred as a mediator in the release.
“Nothing physical ever happened, or was going to happen. Mr. Allred stepped in only to ease tensions at the end of a difficult day,” Harris said.
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