GOP lawmaker gives up honorary college degree in wake of Electoral College vote
Rep. Tom Cole (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 Biden 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 Cruz (R-Texas) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), two of the most vocal objectors, to be censured, to be impeached or to resign.