Texas Republican Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn will both attend President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration next week, according to their offices on Friday.
The news of their attendance is perhaps most unexpected for Cruz, who has spread baseless claims attempting to cast doubt on the legitimacy of Biden’s win over President Donald Trump since the November election.
On Friday, Gov. Greg Abbott’s office also told KVUE that he would not attend the inauguration ceremony. Abbott’s office did not respond to a request for comment from The Texas Tribune. Abbott attended Trump’s inauguration in 2017.
Leading up to the violent Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, Cruz, along with other GOP senators, led a fight in the Senate to reject the certification of the 2020 presidential election results in Arizona unless an emergency audit of voter fraud was conducted. Former U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr said there is no evidence of widespread fraud and courts have repeatedly dismissed Trump's meritless lawsuits to overturn the election results.
Still, even after Trump supporters attacked Capitol police officers, broke windows and scaled walls to invade the U.S. Capitol, Cruz stood by his objection to the certification of the electoral results. The measure was overwhelmingly rejected, 93-6 in the U.S. Senate and 303-121 in the U.S. House, after Congress reconvened to finish business.
Cruz condemned the violent attack, but he continued to cast doubts on the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election in a written statement shortly after the Capitol was desecrated, despite there being no evidence of widespread fraud.
"Millions of Americans who have peacefully expressed their deep concerns regarding election integrity deserve to have their voices heard," Cruz said in a statement after the Capitol siege. "I very much wish Congress had not set aside these concerns, but I respect the position each of my colleagues took. Debate in the two houses of Congress is the proper way to resolve our political differences, not through violent attacks."
Cruz's office confirmed he would attend but did not respond to other questions.
Cornyn, however, accepted Biden’s victory over Trump and voted against Cruz’s objection to the election certification.
"I am disappointed by the election results. Any one person’s disappointment, however, cannot and should not override the legitimate votes of millions of Americans and our duty to uphold the Constitution and laws of the United States,” Cornyn, a former Texas Supreme Court justice, wrote in a letter last week.“Doing so would be a violation of my oath, do irreparable harm to our great democracy, and set a dangerous precedent for future elections."
When asked if they had any safety concerns about the inauguration, given the violence that took place last week, neither office immediately gave a response.
This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2021/01/15/ted-cruz-john-cornyn-inauguration-joe-biden/.
The Texas Tribune is a member-supported, nonpartisan newsroom informing and engaging Texans on state politics and policy. Learn more at texastribune.org.