Both Donalds and Owens have become well-known for spreading the kind of misinformation about COVID-19 and the 2020 election that has become typical of a large number of Republicans. But their efforts to have the votes of millions thrown out, including formally objecting to last week's certification of electoral votes, has caused even more controversy and led to calls that they step down.
For Owens, who made waves for his incendiary criticism of Black Lives Matter protests, the calls to step down are coming from people in his own state, namely the Alliance for a Better Utah. According to St. George News, Chase Thomas, executive director for Alliance for a Better Utah, said in a press release that Owens' participation in the effort to overturn the election had direct links to the Capitol Hill terror attack that happened last week.
“With their votes to overturn a free and fair election in Pennsylvania, Representatives Burgess Owens and Chris Stewart have proven just how low they’re willing to go in. This is exactly the kind of behavior that resulted in the horrific attack on the Capitol and our nation yesterday, and our representatives must face the reality that their incendiary words and actions are fueling the fire of violence and extremism,” Thomas said.
"They can no longer be trusted to hold the sacred offices to which they were elected. They must resign immediately,” he added.
“I don’t vote based on my skin; I do so in allegiance to our Constitution and to always follow the rule of law. Blue checkmarks live to delegitimize my right as a free Black man to act, think, and vote based on my convictions rather than skin color," Donalds wrote in response on Twitter.
He also fired back at his critics during an interview on Fox News this week, expressing no shame for partnering with Republicans seeking to throw out the Electoral College votes in the 2020 presidential election.For two months now, Republicans have sought to have the votes of majority Black counties and cities thrown out so that President Donald Trump could be named victorious. After dozens of court cases across the country, not a single judge agreed with any of the Republican efforts to throw out the votes of millions, and none of the conspiracy theories about the election were proven true.
Black people in major cities like Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Las Vegas and Detroit came out in droves to vote in the election, delivering major wins for Democrats in states that were previously seen as heavily Republican, according to studies done by The Brookings Institute and multiple news outlets.
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) January 7, 2021
Byron Donalds, of Fort Myers, Florida, was the only Black person to join in Trump's congressional insurrection yesterday.
He voted to disenfranchise Black voters and to block a Black woman from becoming vice president. @ByronDonalds should resign in disgrace. pic.twitter.com/lpbmrBdkGu
Republicans have based a significant part of their opposition to the results of the election on the fact that so many Black people came out to vote, using tacit references to the "outsized" votes in "cities" in their numerous court cases as evidence that something was wrong with the election. The NAACP has since filed multiple lawsuits against Trump and the Republican party for their very public efforts to have Black voters summarily removed from the election in dozens of states.
"Defendants' efforts to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of voters -- targeting cities with large Black populations, including Detroit, Michigan, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Atlanta, Georgia -- repeat the worst abuses in our nation's history," one lawsuit read, according to ABC News.
"By targeting communities of color with false claims of voter fraud, and by coordinating actions to pressure state and local officials to discard votes cast in cities with large Black populations, President Trump, his campaign, and the RNC, have undermined our most sacred constitutional values," Sam Spital, director of litigation for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, said in a statement.
Despite losing all of their court cases, the leaders of the Republican Party has continued to spread unfounded rumors and referenced unexplained "issues" to cause chaos and undermine confidence in the election, leading to the violent domestic terrorist attack that took place last week on Capitol Hill, where a pro-Trump mob attacked Congress in an attempt to stop them from certifying the presidential election results.
The violence, destruction, and death that resulted from the attack have prompted calls for Republicans like Donalds to step down or resign.
But Donalds has used the controversy over his efforts to make himself famous in conservative circles. During his interview with Fox News this week, he refused to resign.
“I’m not going to be dissuaded. I’m not going to be afraid. I’m gonna put both feet down in the sand and I’m going to stand for what I believe no matter what the left thinks,” he said before complaining about people focusing on his race and criticizing social media sites for removing terrorist content spread by the president and other right-wing groups.
He said nothing about the lives lost during the attack or the damage done to the Capitol Building. When the hosts asked him about Florida's disastrous coronavirus pandemic response, he outright lied, painting the state's current situation as one of the best in the country and praising beleaguered Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
At more than 23,000, Florida has the fourth-highest number of COVID-19 deaths in the country.