WASHINGTON – Congress officially certified President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ election victory on Thursday morning, ending a day marked by chaos and violence at the United States Capitol.
The certification process began just after 1 p.m. E.T. on Wednesday. The event is typically a low-key ceremonial affair but was expected to be stalled with objections planned by President Donald Trump’s allies in the House and Senate, despite their efforts would be easily defeated.
Over an hour later, pro-Trump extremists stormed the Capitol and entered the historic building, forcing lawmakers to be evacuated as violent and chaotic scene escalated with more police being deployed to Washington.
Vice President Mike Pence returned to the Senate to re-start the proceedings just after 8 p.m. E.T.
“To those who wreaked havoc in our Capitol today, you did not win,” Pence said. “Violence never wins. Freedom wins, and this is still the people’s house.”
Prior to the riot, over 100 House Republicans had planned to object along with some Republican senators to Biden’s win in six key battleground states.
However, some Senate Republicans withdrew their decision to object. Sens. Steve Daines of Montana, Mike Braun of Indiana and Kelly Loeffler of Georgia all said that they had reconsidered their earlier position.
“I cannot now, in good conscience, object to the certification of these electors,” Loeffler said Wednesday, a far cry from her statement on Monday night at Mr. Trump’s rally in Georgia, where she told his supporters she would object.
Several Republican lawmakers in the House rejected the results in Georgia, Michigan, Nevada and Wisconsin. However, they could not get a debate on the floor after no Senator would support their claims.
“In that case, the objection cannot be entertained,” Pence repeatedly said.
Sen. Bernie Sanders’ home state of Vermont put Biden and Harris over the 270 Electoral Vote threshold just after 3:33 a.m. E.T.
Biden and Harris finished with 306 electoral votes, while Trump and Pence had 232.
“The announcement of the state of the vote by the President of the Senate shall be deemed a sufficient declaration of the persons elected President and Vice President of the United States, each for the term beginning on the 20th day of January 2021 and shall be entered together with the list of the votes on the journals of the Senate and the House of Representatives,” Pence said following the count of all the Electoral College votes.
Following the formal affirmation of Biden’s victory, Mr. Trump released a statement through the White House since his Twitter account was locked after violating the social media’s rules for the platform.
“Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th,” Trump said.
“I have always said we would continue our fight to ensure that only legal votes were counted,” Trump added. “While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it’s only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again!”
The formal affirmation of Biden’s victory likely puts a final end to the attempts by Mr. Trump and his allies to overturn the results of the election that he lost back in November. While he did not concede, Mr. Trump’s statement early Thursday morning is the first time he’s acknowledged he will not be President after January 20.