DALLAS — Sen. Ted Cruz, at the center of the Electoral College dispute and the resulting protests, is being both blamed and his motives questioned in the hours following the assault on Capitol Hill.
As the joint session of Congress voted alphabetically on each state's electoral votes, Sen. Cruz stood and objected to the votes from Arizona.
By rule, that meant two hours of debate separately in the House of Representatives and the Senate where each would vote whether to reject the state's votes.
"We cannot keep drifting apart into two separate tribes with a different set of facts and separate reality," Republican Senate Majority Leader said as the Senate's debate began.
And he did not hide his disgust with the process that he said Republicans should not have started.
"I will vote to respect the people's decision and defend our system of government as we know it," he said announcing he would accept all of the electoral votes.
"I am not arguing for setting aside the results of this election," Sen. Cruz said as he addressed his fellow senators.
He did argue for a special commission to study, in 10 days, the same fraud allegations that 62 judges, including the Supreme Court, have either thrown out or refused to hear.
"And make a conclusive determination whether and to what extent this election complied with the constitution and with federal law," Cruz said.
Political analyst and Southern Methodist University political science professor Cal Jillson said the efforts of Cruz and other Republicans political theatre that would eventually fail.
"He [Cruz] is a very smart, articulate guy. But he is also nakedly ambitious," Jillson said. "It's nothing but a stalling tactic. Nothing but an attempt to ingratiate himself with the Republican base."
Protestors stormed the Capitol shortly after Cruz finished his speech. He responded on Twitter by saying:
"Those storming the Capitol need to stop NOW. Those engaged in violence are hurting the cause they say they support."
To which a group called Veterans for Biden responded "This on you, Senator Cruz. You made this possible. You helped fan the flame. You are why this is happening in our country."
"It's incredibly distressing," said SMU Law professor Eric Cedillo of the protests.
He, likewise, expected the results of the Electoral College vote to be a foregone conclusion, even with a group of Republicans expected to challenge the vote of as many as six swing states leading to at least six individual debates of two hours each.
"We may have just changed everything in terms of the complexity of what happens next," he said when asked how he expected lawmakers to proceed now. "I couldn't imagine Ted Cruz taking the podium once again espousing what he is espousing across the stage with what we just saw."
Late Wednesday night, after Capitol Hill Police secured the government buildings, lawmakers indicated they would resume their work and finish what they started, potentially by Wednesday night.