Just hours after hundreds of supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. capitol, a shaken Congress has now certified Democrat Joe Biden’s election victory.
And the White House has released a statement in which Trump pledges an orderly transition when Biden is sworn in, although the statement also repeats the false claim that Trump won.
Floor debate in Congress resumed, stretching into the early hours of Thursday (December 7), after police secured the building.
Both the House and Senate overwhelmingly rejected two objections to the vote tally — for Arizona and Pennsylvania — and certified that Biden received 306 votes to Trump’s 232.
Four people are now known to have died during the chaos, according to police – one from gunshot wounds and three from medical emergencies – and 52 people were arrested at the time.
The outcome of the vote tallying was never in doubt, but those who stormed the capitol did force their way past security barricades, shattered windows, and scaled walls to fight their way in.
Some besieged the chamber holding the floor of the House of Representatives while lawmakers were still inside, forcing suspension of the debate.
Security officers barricaded the door with furniture before helping lawmakers escape.
Vice President Mike Pence — who had already angered Trump by resisting his calls to intervene in the vote — called it a ‘dark day’ in U.S. history when he reconvened the session.
“To those who wreaked havoc in our Capitol today, you did not win. Violence never wins, freedom wins, and this is still the people’s house.”
Several Republicans who had previously supported Trump’s claims of widespread voter fraud — and were expected to mount objections to the vote tallying — changed their minds by the time they had returned to the chamber, and also urged their fellow lawmakers to certify Biden’s victory.
Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler was one of them, after losing her reelection campaign in Georgia less than 24 hours earlier. That state has flipped the balance of power to Democrats in the Senate.
“The violence, the lawlessness and siege of the halls of Congress are abhorrent and stand as a direct attack on the very institution my objection was intended to protect.”
Trump, who had refused to concede to Biden, had urged his supporters Wednesday morning to march on the Capitol and, quote, ‘fight.’
His legal challenges to Biden’s victory have been rejected by courts across the country.