GOP lawmaker gives up honorary college degree in wake of Electoral College vote

Rep. Tom ColeThomas (Tom) Jeffrey ColeNow that earmarks are back, it's time to ban 'poison pill' riders Parade of 2024 GOP hopefuls court House conservatives Florida Rep. Alcee Hastings dies at 84 MORE (R-Okla.) voluntarily gave up his honorary degree from Grinnell College on Tuesday after a petition was sent to the school due to Cole’s objection to the Electoral College vote last week.

“The insurrection of January 6 in the nation’s capital and its aftermath continue to reveal how the words and actions of individuals and groups can safeguard or undermine democracy,” wrote Grinnell College President Anne Harris in a statement Wednesday.

“The acts of those who supported or otherwise gave credence to a baseless challenge to an election that had been certified as free and fair multiple times by multiple processes have threatened the electoral process and the peaceful transfer of power," she added.


Cole was among the over 100 GOP representatives who voted against certifying the results of the Electoral College that confirmed the victory of President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenVirginia GOP gubernatorial nominee acknowledges Biden was 'legitimately' elected BuzzFeed News finds Biden's private Venmo account Kid reporter who interviewed Obama dies at 23 MORE in the 2020 presidential election.

Their support for refusing to certify the election results has been blamed for ultimately contributing to the deadly riot that took place at the Capitol last week. In their objections, several lawmakers spread unverified claims of electoral fraud.

“On Monday, Rep. Cole contacted my office to request a meeting. On Tuesday afternoon, Rep. Cole called me and voluntarily relinquished his honorary degree," Harris wrote. "The College affirms that Rep. Cole no longer holds an honorary degree from Grinnell College."

She added, "We are simultaneously constituents and caretakers of our community’s commitment to education and democracy. As a result, the connections between education and democracy are shaped and re-shaped by both participation and critique."

Lawmakers who objected to the vote have faced widespread condemnation since the Capitol breach. Democratic lawmakers have called for Sens. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzFormer OMB pick Neera Tanden to serve as senior adviser to Biden Seth Rogen says he's not in a feud with 'fascist' Ted Cruz, whose 'words caused people to die' GOP votes to replace Cheney with Stefanik after backing from Trump MORE (R-Texas) and Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyNYPD Asian Hate Crimes Task Force chief: Attacks are 'not new' More than 75 Asian, LGBTQ groups oppose anti-Asian crime bill Senate Commerce Committee advances Biden's FTC nominee Lina Khan MORE (R-Mo.), two of the most vocal objectors, to be censured, to be impeached or to resign.