Following Violence at the Capitol, Congress Certifies Biden Victory

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After Congress was forced to evacuate by Trump supporters invading and ransacking the Capitol Building midday on Wednesday, it reconvened that evening to complete the certification of President-Elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory, with Majority Leader McConnell(R-KY) saying, “We will not be kept out of this chamber by thugs, mobs or threats. . . . We have fulfilled this solemn duty every four years for more than two centuries, whether our nation has been at war, or peace under all manner of threats. Even during an ongoing armed rebellion and the civil war, the clockwork of our democracy has carried on.” In calling those who stormed the “unhinged,” McConnell and many other Republicans took a much harder line against the effort to overturn Biden’s victory than they had previously. Although the Congressional leadership of both parties agreed on the necessity of finishing the certification of the election, Democrats were much more explicit in connecting the violence to President Trump and other Republicans. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer(D-NY) called it “In good part President Trump’s doing,” while also blaming “the people that enable him,” and “the captive media that parrots his lies.”

Although some Republicans dropped their objections to the counting of the Electoral College votes in the aftermath of the rioting, objections were still raised against six states: Pennsylvania, Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, Michigan and Wisconsin. In total, 147 members of the House of Representatives and 8 senators, all Republican, voted in favor of one or more of the objections. Defending his continued objection to Pennsylvania’s electoral votes, Senator Josh Hawley(R-MO) argued, “For those who have concerns about the integrity of our elections, . . . this is the lawful place where those objections and concerns should be heard.” However, this was disputed on both sides of the aisle, as fellow Republican Rand Paul(KY) said, “The vote today is not a protest, the vote today is literally to overturn elections,” and Democrat Bob Casey(PA) called it an “attempt to disenfranchise the voter of Pennsylvania, based upon a lie, a falsehood. That same lie sowed the seeds of today’s violence and today’s lawlessness here in the capitol.” Ultimately, the joint session of Congress was dissolved at 3:44 a.m. EST, after all the objections were defeated and all Electoral College votes were counted.