HELENA — U.S. Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., said Wednesday evening that he will vote to certify Democrat Joe Biden's electoral win for the presidency, reversing his stance following Wednesday's assault on the U.S. Capitol Building by pro-Trump protesters in Washington, D.C.
“Today is a sad day for our country," Daines said in a statement. "The destruction and violence we saw at our Capitol today is an assault on our democracy, our Constitution and the rule of law, and must not be tolerated. ...
"We must stand together. We will not let today’s violence deter Congress from certifying the election. We must restore confidence in our electoral process. We must, and we will, have a peaceful and orderly transition of power."
Five days ago, Daines announced that he would join a dozen Republican senators to support challenges to the presidential election results in certain swing states won by Biden. He cited what he called "continued reports" of voting irregularities in these states. These reports and allegations have been rejected or debunked by local election officials and the courts.
CBS News reported Wednesday evening that Daines is the first of these Republican senators to switch his position.
Daines has not responded directly to questions from MTN News, on what he thought to be credible reports of voter fraud or irregularities.
The efforts to challenge the presidential election results, encouraged by President Trump, were doomed to failure, because all House and Senate Democrats, and some Republicans, said they would oppose them.
A spokeswoman for Sen. Daines said Wednesday night that Daines' initial stance to support challenging the election results "was never an attempt to overturn the election."
"As stated from the beginning, the Senator's goal was to raise concerns for Americans who lack confidence in our elections, and to drive reforms to restore integrity, confidence and trust into our electoral process," said Katie Schoettler.
Daines and other senators said they wanted to establish a federal commission to "audit" the presidential election results in the disputed states and then, after the audit, allow the states to choose whether to have a special session of their respective legislature to change their 2020 electoral votes for president.