Former Gov. George Pataki, the last Republican to serve statewide in New York, blasted efforts to decertify the election results in the presidential race by members of Congress in a statement released on Tuesday evening.
The statement from Pataki comes on the eve of a vote to certify the election results in the presidential race by Congress. Multiple Republican lawmakers, including Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, have signaled they will challenge some of the electors.
"For the past four years, I’ve been telling people who feared a loss of freedom under President Trump not to worry. I assured them that our system of government and Constitution were too strong for any one person to take those freedoms away. And I was right. We’ve lost none of our freedoms under the Trump administration. Moreover none of our freedoms have been at risk, until now," Pataki said in the statement.
"The ongoing effort to get friendly politicians to decertify state election results is a grave threat to our freedom. A political majority in Congress, undoing the certified results of the states, would undermine our entire electoral system. This effort must stop now and responsible Republicans must denounce these efforts as Senator Cotton and others have done over the past two weeks."
It also stands in contrast to the Republican he sometimes battled with when both men were in office: Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, the president's lawyer who has been a prominent booster of efforts to overturn the election.
President Donald Trump has claimed widespread fraud is to blame for his loss to President-elect Joe Biden in November. But Trump's campaign has not produced any evidence of fraud to overturn the election and multiple court challenges have failed.
Katko, the ranking lawmaker on the House Homeland Security panel, has said there is no evidence of wrongdoing that would change the results in Trump's favor.
"Our system of government works chiefly because we have checks and balances. Any challenges to state actions as partisan or corrupt can and should be raised - but in the courts, not in Congress," Pataki said. "The courts could find fraud or illegal actions and overturn results. But they haven’t."
Pataki ran for the Republican presidential nomination himself in 2016, dropping out before the first votes were cast.
Pataki, in his statement, said the challenges by congressional allies of the president goes to the heart of the nation's peaceful transfer of power.
"Enough is enough. Yes, investigate election fraud and the unilateral actions of some state Attorneys General or Governors that changed the rules, I believe illegally and unconstitutionally," Pataki said. "But certify the results promptly. No intimidation, no threatening or political retaliation. President Trump doesn’t want to leave office, but leave he must. Just like every other President in the 230-year history of our republic."