Republican congressman who tried to overturn 2020 election announces Senate bid

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Rep. Jim Banks’ announcement video touts his work to discriminate against transgender kids and desire to punish China for ‘giving us COVID.’

Indiana Republican Rep. Jim Banks released a video on Tuesday announcing his candidacy for the U.S. Senate in 2024. In a nearly three-minute video, Banks highlights some of his extreme right-wing positions and his efforts to overturn the 2020 election, which got him blocked from serving on the panel that investigated the January 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol insurrection.

Banks, who just began his fourth term in the U.S. House, is running to replace Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN), who is running for Indiana governor next year rather than seeking reelection.

In the video, Banks frames himself as a “proven conservative” fighting against the “radical socialist Democrats” who “are trying to change America.”

“I’ve led the fight in Congress to hold China accountable for stealing our jobs and for giving us COVID,” he claims. “I’ve led the fight on the House floor to keep girls sports for girls and to protect the unborn. And I’ve used my position on the House Armed Services and Education committees to stop Critical Race Theory and anti-Americanism from being taught in our schools and pushed on our troops.”

Banks also references his role in the events that led up to the 2021 Capitol insurrection and his attempts to play down its importance afterward.

“Indiana deserves a conservative fighter in the United States Senate, but the radical Democrats and the spineless Republicans are gonna do everything they can to stop me,” he tells viewers.

As headlines are shown highlighting then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s refusal to appoint him to the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol, he adds, “Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden have tried to block me before. They know I won’t back down.”

Banks has indeed been a leading voice against LGBTQ people, including fighting against allowing transgender kids to participate in school sports based on their gender identity. He received a 0% rating from the Human Rights Campaign for each of his first three terms, meaning that he voted against equality every single time. He was also suspended from Twitter for hate speech in October 2021 after he deliberately misgendered Assistant Secretary for Health Rachel Levine, the highest-ranking openly transgender official in U.S. history.

He has earned a 0% score annually from NARAL Pro-Choice America, opposing reproductive freedom at every opportunity.

Banks has frequently attacked China, explaining to former President Donald Trump’s senior aide Steve Bannon in April 2020 that the Trump administration should blame the coronavirus pandemic on the Chinese Communist Party because otherwise voters might fault their botched response:

They're either going to blame the CCP or they're going to blame President Trump as the left wants them to blame. So, my encouragement to President Trump and his advisers is to go down every path that we can to draw attention to the CCP's negligence, hold them accountable, and going through an international court of law is one avenue that we have carved out.

In 2019, Banks pushed to ban federal employees’ retirement funds from investing in Chinese and Russian businesses, accusing both countries of “malicious activity against the United States.” But at the time, he held thousands of dollars worth of shares in three mutual funds in his own retirement account that included investments in Chinese companies. His most recent disclosure statements indicate that he divested the funds after the American Independent Foundation reported on his holdings.

Two days after Biden won the 2020 election, Banks tweeted that Democrats had a “plan” to prevent Trump from winning the election. In a since-deleted Facebook post from Jan. 5, 2021, Banks encouraged “thousands—maybe millions?—of supporters of Donald Trump” to come to Washington, D.C. to send a “powerful message to politicians in DC that things can’t go back to ‘normal’ or business as usual.”

The next day, thousands of violent Trump backers illegally stormed the Capitol, leading to the deaths of at least seven people and millions of dollars’ worth of destruction of public property. Banks expressed sympathy for the attackers, acknowledging their “deep-seated resentment.” He also voted to overturn Biden's wins in Arizona and Pennsylvania during the electoral counting process.

He vowed in July 2021 after his party nominated him to be on the panel, "I will not allow this committee to be turned into a forum for condemning millions of Ameircans because of their political beliefs.” However, Pelosi rejected his appointment, citing his prior “statements made and actions taken.”

Banks has also used his time in office to push to make climate protesters pay for police enforcement costs, to try to censor colleagues from wearing face masks with messages he dislikes on the House floor, and to vote against the bipartisan infrastructure legislation that provided billions in funding for improving Indiana’s bridges and highways.

He may face a tough road to the Republican Senate nomination in 2024. Former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels is reportedly among other Republicans considered possible candidates. 

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.