Burgess Owens explains why he’ll challenge Trump’s loss on the House floor

Says President Trump should exhaust all possible challenges to the election.

(Rick Egan | Tribune file photo) Rep-elect Burgess Owens talks to the media on Nov. 3, 2020. On Thursday, he explained why he plans to help challenge Electoral College votes next week as Congress formally counts and certifies them.

Utah Rep.-elect Burgess Owens, a former Super Bowl champion, used a football analogy Thursday to explain why he plans to join a challenge of Electoral College votes next week on the House floor in a bid to keep President Donald Trump in office that his highly unlikely to succeed.

“In 10 years in the NFL, I played in a lot of losing games,” he said. “If you leave everything on the field and you’ve done everything you can and there’s nothing left, then it’s a winning game regardless of what the score might be.”

He adds, “I plan to leave everything on the field” for Trump by helping to challenge electoral votes in states he believes Trump actually won, even though the vote counts say otherwise — and so do all court rulings on lawsuits that have contested the results.

Does Owens truly believe Trump won the election? “Absolutely. Yes, I do. There’s no question in my mind that I think he won.” He has been an adamant support of Trump, who endorsed him. Also, Donald Trump Jr. campaigned in Utah for Owens and helped him raise money.

Owens was included in media lists Wednesday of 10 incoming House freshmen who plan to join challenges. Other members of the Utah delegation say they have no plans to join such challenges.

“I think it’s the right thing to do,” Owens said in an interview Thursday. “Seventy-plus percent of conservatives say that this [election] is not fair,” and he says he wants one more airing of their beliefs.

Owens said he believes, for example, that 42,000 votes were counted twice in Nevada, an assertion made by Trump’s press secretary, but refuted by Nevada officials. Also, he said he lived in Pennsylvania for 24 years, “and I know how the Democratic Party has done things [there], and it has not been fair.”

While courts repeatedly and universally dismissed cases brought by the Trump campaign for lack of evidence, Owens said, “We the people should have this opportunity to have this conversation versus [just] people with black robes.”

He predicts that through challenges in Congress, people “are going to have a chance” to “hear things some people have never heard before” about the election, but he did not explain what.

Owens added, “My goal basically is just to make sure that I’m doing everything I can to take this to every legal end we have. And once the official count is done, then we’ll respect whoever the president is.”

He acknowledges that Trump supporters face tough odds.

Objections to individual state returns must be made in writing by at least one member of the House and Senate, which is expected to occur. The joint session would then recess and each chamber would debate for up to two hours whether electoral votes were cast properly in that state.

The two chambers would then vote separately on whether to sustain objections. Any objection would need to be sustained by both houses to exclude any votes. Democrats control the House and some Republican senators are not in favor of this objection, making the success of this plan unlikely.

If enough were excluded to prevent President-elect Joe Biden from winning 270 votes he needs, Trump supporters say the Constitution would require state legislatures to appoint new electors. Since Republican control most state legislaturse, they say it provides a chance that Trump could still win.

“I know that because we [Republicans] do not have the majority in the House that it’s going to be a fight,” Owens said. “But for sure, I will leave knowing that I’m standing for what I believe is correct in this particular case.”

Owens adds that this is not the first time that electoral votes have been challenged, noting for example that some Democrats challenged Ohio’s votes in 2004 when George W. Bush was reelected.

“There should be nobody on either side is to be upset about this,” he said.

“Whatever the result is, it is,” he said. “President Trump is not going to do anything illegal. He’s going to leave with it’s time to leave. But he should have the same right as others” to challenge electoral votes.