Editorial | Scott Perry must resign


Joe Hermitt, PennLive | TNS

Scott Perry listens to a question following a COVID-19 Community Leaders Information Meeting hosted by Penn State Health on March 9, 2020.

By The Pitt News Editorial Board

An article in The New York Times revealed on Saturday that Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., played a more significant role in attempting to undermine the results of the 2020 presidential election than previously known.

This article revealed that Perry introduced former President Donald Trump to Jeffrey Clark, the acting chief of the civil division of the U.S. Department of Justice. Clark contributed to Trump’s false hopes that he had won the election, and the pair devised a plan to have the Department send a letter to Georgia legislators, informing them of an investigation that might invalidate the state’s Electoral College results. When Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen refused to send the letter, Trump considered ousting him and promoting Clark to his position. Trump’s plan was only halted because other Justice Department officials warned him that they would resign if he dismissed Rosen.

Though Perry’s involvement was previously unknown, and might not seem as significant as Clark’s, the fact that he initiated these events is deeply disturbing. While Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has called for an investigation of Clark’s involvement, there are no reported calls to investigate Perry or the part that he played in this sequence of events. This means that he may not face consequences for his involvement, despite the fact that his actions were disgraceful and undemocratic.

Perry was reelected to the House in the 2020 election — his reelection is the direct result of the votes he attempted to prove illegitimate. Perry also openly attended and spoke at “Stop the Steal” events in the wake of the election, abetting the attempt to stop millions of legal, legitimate ballots from being counted. His opposition to the results of a free and fair election poses a serious threat to our democracy, and because of this, he ought to resign or be removed from office.

Certainly, there are other members of Congress who pose similar threats to our democracy, and it is disturbing that so many elected officials advocated to overturn the election’s results and continue to question its validity. But Perry’s open support of the “Stop the Steal” movement combined with his facilitation of Trump’s delusions at the highest levels of our government are reprehensible and frankly inexcusable.

Following the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, and Perry’s subsequent objection to Pennsylvania’s electoral votes, The York Dispatch — a newspaper local to Perry’s Congressional district, which includes the state capital Harrisburg — published an editorial calling for Perry’s resignation. We echo this demand.

Either Perry must resign, or he must be expelled from the House. Our country must begin to hold those who question democracy accountable, and finally demonstrate that their actions have consequences. No longer can politicians question the legitimate votes of the American people and baselessly claim fraud. Perry knows this. In fact, just days after the election, he told PennLive that all legal votes must be counted.

“Everybody has to respect the valid votes being counted,” Perry said. “The media doesn’t decide, the candidates don’t decide. Voters decide.”

He was right. Voters decide, and they decided that Joe Biden would be the president of the United States for the next four years. Those who continue contesting these results — including, but not limited to, Perry — are disrespecting the foundation of our government. No one who questions democracy deserves to hold elected office.

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