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CONGRESS: Reed rises to occasion

Some in Congress have enabled President Donald Trump’s behavior since the November election. U.S. Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning, has not been one of them.

In July, when Trump wanted to delay the election, Reed disagreed with the president. Reed was clear, after the election, that once any court challenges were heard and results certified, the country must unite behind the chosen winner. Reed declined this week to stand with those objecting to vote totals in tightly contested areas. He did all that despite his past support of Trump, his status as honorary co-chair of Trump’s New York campaign and a voting record that was often in line with Trump’s wishes.

He hasn’t always been perfect, but Reed has handled the aftermath of the 2020 election perfectly.

That includes his statement on the House of Representatives floor on Wednesday. He literally crossed the aisle Wednesday, standing beside Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-New Jersey, splitting his five minutes of floor time with Gottheimer. The two embraced after each had spoken — and while each made clear that even they, as co-chairs of the Problem Solvers Caucus, have regular political disagreements they pledged to continue working from a position of mutual respect. In an evening of political theater, Reed and Gottheimer provided a foundation from which our elected officials can move forward.

“Madame Speaker, I come to this side of the aisle as a proud Republican but most importantly as a proud American,” Reed said. “Today we saw an assault on our democracy. I love this institution. I love the United States Congress and I love the United States of America. And what I saw today was mob rule that spat upon the blood of my father that is in the soil of Europe and in the soil of Korea and who gave us, through that blood, this sacred constitution and this sacred ability to lead this world as a power that says we settle our differences not with mob rule. We settle our differences through elections. And when those elections are over we have a peaceful transition of power.”

Reed made a specific point, both theatrically and rhetorically, of standing with Democrats to transfer power peacefully to President-elect Joe Biden. Reed also realized, and spoke eloquently about, the fact that Wednesday’s session was not just about certifying election results. He fully realized the gravity of the moment.

“Madame Speaker, I encourage my colleagues to always search their conscience and their souls. I respect my Republican colleagues and my Democratic colleagues, but today let us pause and remember what happened here today. Let us pause and remember that our tenure here in this Congress will far surpass the time that we stay here. Let us cast our votes today recognizing that what we do here today will set the course for this institution for years to come. And this institution, Madame Speaker, shall not fail because the United States of America shall forever be the beacon of hope, the inspiration to all, and may God bless our great country,” Reed said.

On a day fueled by one man saying the wrong words, Reed said all the right words. May his shining moment be one for both Democrats and Republicans to build on rather than merely a bright spot in the darkness that has become American politics.

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