They couldn’t beat him at the polls in November, but leaders of Pennsylvania’s Democratic Party on Sunday called for Republican U.S. Rep. Scott Perry, an outspoken Donald Trump supporter who represents Harrisburg, Hershey and York, to resign following news reports that he was involved in a Trump effort to use a government lawyer from Philadelphia to overturn Joe Biden’s election as president.
“Scott Perry has disgraced South Central Pennsylvania, failed his country, and betrayed the trust of anyone who cares about our democracy. He is a stain on our Congress and must resign immediately,” state Democratic Party chair Nancy Patton Mills said in a statement.
If Perry won’t quit, he should be removed from congressional committee assignments by House GOP minority leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) and denied state and national congressional funding, Patton Mills added.
“There must be consequences for this conduct,” State Attorney General Josh Shapiro, a Democrat who hopes to run for governor, said in a post on social media. Shapiro also wrote that Perry “should familiarize himself with” a section of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which bars people from Congress who “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” or aided rebels against the government.
Liberal Democratic Philadelphia state Reps. Malcom Kenyatta and Brian Sims also called on Perry to resign.
Perry has not issued a public response. Staff at his Washington and Pennsylvania offices, which were closed Sunday, did not immediately respond to phone and email inquiries. Calls to the chairman of the state Republican Committee, Philadelphia lawyer Lawrence Tabas, were not immediately returned.
Perry is popular among south-central Pennsylvania voters. He was reelected to his fifth two-year term in November by voters in Dauphin and parts of Cumberland and York Counties, winning 209,000 votes to beat former state auditor general Eugene DePasquale, a Democrat, who garnered only 183,000 votes in a mixed district that Democrats had hoped to capture.
Trump had considered designating lawyer Jeffrey Bossert Clark, a Northeast Philadelphia native, to mount a last-ditch legal challenge against Biden’s election, the Washington Post and other news outlets reported last week.
Trump met with Clark at the urging of Perry days before Congress was to meet to confirm the electoral vote, according to the New York Times, adding that Clark, unlike more senior lawyers working for the U.S. Department of Justice, was willing to argue that election challengers might still make a successful case, despite the failures of court challenges by previous Trump lawyers.
The effort, which reportedly included a plan to replace acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen with Clark, was dropped after senior Justice Department officials who considered it futile threatened to quit en masse, according to news reports.
Democrats have attacked Perry for that extra effort to overturn the election, whose results were certified by the states and Congress.
Perry also has condemned House Democrats’ “hasty rush to judgement” in impeaching Trump a second time, for inciting rioters to sack the Capitol as Congress was meeting Jan. 6 to ratify the election results. The “sham” impeachment vote on Jan. 13, he said in a statement at that time, “wouldn’t be fit for the Inquisition or prairie justice — it’s an embarrassing and dangerous stunt that furthers our American divide, and I proudly voted against it.”
Clark, a graduate of Father Judge High School and Harvard University, earned a master’s from the University of Delaware before attending Georgetown Law Center and working at the prestigious corporate law firm Kirkland and Ellis. He had been responsible for environmental law cases in Trump’s Justice Department. Trump simplified and rolled back environmental rules he blamed for crippling industry and destroying U.S. jobs.
Perry was one of eight Pennsylvania Republican congressmen who voted against certifying the state’s vote for Biden, citing concern about voting irregularities, despite courts’ dismissal of multiple similar claims. Sen. Pat Toomey (R., Pa.), who is not running for reelection, and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R., Pa.), who represents electorally competitive Bucks County, voted with Democrats to confirm the result.
Staff writer Jonathan Tamari contributed to this article.