Business leaders around the country are uniting to urge Congress to certify a win by President-elect Joe Biden without delay, arguing that any attempt to “thwart” the process would “run counter to the essential tenets of our democracy.”
On Monday afternoon nearly 200 leaders signed the short, open letter asking legislators to certify Biden’s presidency on Jan. 6. “Our duly elected leaders deserve the respect and bipartisan support of all Americans at a moment when we are dealing with the worst health and economic crises in modern history,” they wrote.
The letter presents the largest united push by the business community to stop President Donald Trump and a group of 12 senators from various attempts to claim the election, which Biden won by 74 electoral votes and 4.5 points.
In November, top CEOs met privately to discuss possible collective action against the President if he refused to leave office. They decided, said Yale management professor Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, who led the meeting, to allow the President to challenge the results of the election legally. But if the President’s actions began to hurt the peaceful transition of power, the group said they might take public action collectively and privately put pressure on their Republican congresspeople to speak out.
Trump and his associates have lost about 60 legal battles related to the election in courts around the country, but they still refuse to concede.
“President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris have won the Electoral College and the courts have rejected challenges to the electoral process,” reads the letter signed by a variety of Fortune 500 leaders including Albert Bourla, Pfizer chairman and CEO; Larry Fink, BlackRock chairman and CEO; Ajay Banga, Mastercard executive chairman; and David Solomon, Goldman Sachs chairman and CEO.
The letter follows news that Texas Senator Ted Cruz plans to lead 11 Senators on Wednesday in an attempt to block Congress from officially certifying the election results unless there is another audit of the numbers.
“We intend to vote on January 6 to reject the electors from disputed states as not ‘regularly given’ and ‘lawfully certified,’” the senators said. “Unless and until that emergency 10-day audit is completed.” In the House, up to 140 Republicans have said they may vote against certifying the Electoral College win.
The issue has caused a rift between Republicans. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell does not support the audit, but has not used his power to stop it. Republican Senator Pat Toomey, who is retiring after this term, said that the efforts directly undermine the American people’s abilities to elect their leadership and that “allegations of fraud by a losing campaign cannot justify overturning an election.”
Ted Cruz is expected to run for president in 2024, as is Missouri Senator Josh Hawley, who has separately said that he will not certify election results on Wednesday.
Senators Marsha Blackburn, Mike Braun, Steve Daines, Ron Johnson, John Kennedy, and James Lankford, along with Senator-elects Bill Hagerty, Cynthia Lummis, Roger Marshall, and Tommy Tuberville, will join Cruz in his demands.
President Donald Trump tweeted his support of the initiative this weekend, and Vice President Mike Pence “welcomes the efforts of members of the House and Senate to use the authority they have under the law to raise objections and bring forward evidence,” said Marc Short, Pence’s chief of staff.
Many of the Senators who oppose the certification of the vote are up for reelection, and may fear that opposing Trump will lead to primary challengers in their home states. The assurance of the business community may, perhaps, ease some fear about tight purse strings in election campaigns for those who do certify the Biden presidency.
More politics coverage from Fortune:
- The biggest conspiracy theories of 2020 (and why they won’t die)
- Under Biden, expect more scrutiny of Big Tech and mergers
- Why a key Georgia county flipped from red to blue—and what it means for Democrats
- Pfizer, Trump, and Biden: A twisted triangle that’s complicating COVID-19 relief
- Biden’s first 100 days: Student loan debt won’t go anywhere