After a deadly and nearly unprecedented siege of the Capitol, Congress early Thursday morning officially certified Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory.
The usually perfunctory official certification came after Trump urged his supporters Wednesday to march on the Capitol, where they overwhelmed an insufficient security apparatus and stormed the legislative branch, forcing members of Congress to cower and shelter and leaving the historic structure damaged and vandalized.
Four died during the commotion, three of unspecified medical emergencies and one woman who died after being shot in the Capitol by a Capitol Police officer, Metropolitan Police Chief Robert Contee told reporters.
The siege effectively delayed the certification for several hours, but shook some Republicans away from supporting the President’s open attempt to defy democracy.
Biden called the bum rush on the legislature an “unprecedented assault” on American democracy.
Trump essentially cheered on the Capitol-breachers on Twitter as it happened. “Remember this day forever!” he wrote on the social media platform, before it suspended the President for 12 hours.
Following the siege, some Republicans abandoned their earlier pledges to object to the election results.
Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), fresh off of losing a runoff election to Georgia Democrat Raphael Warnock, said “the events that have transpired today have forced me to reconsider” her objection to Biden’s win. Sen. James Lankford (R-OK), who’d supported a commission to delay the election’s certification, said that “obviously” it would not happen following the Capitol siege.
But not everyone had been convinced to embrace the election’s victor.
In the end, six Republicans in the Senate and 121 in the House — a majority of the House Republican caucus — voted to object to the election’s results in Arizona. And seven Republican senators and 138 members of the House voted to object to the results in Pennsylvania.
Republican members of the House attempted to mount objections to several other states well, but none had the support of a senator necessary to force a vote.
Several Trump allies, including Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), entertained wild conspiracy theories about undercover “antifa” agitators storming the Capitol.
After the certification, Trump finally admitted defeat and said there would be an “orderly transition” on January 20. He had to issue the statement through White House Social Media Director Dan Scavino’s Twitter account after Twitter put a 12-hour ban on the President’s own account.
In light of the day’s events, the votes to side with Trump over the democratic process were jarring.
“After today’s coup attempt this is not ‘position taking” as some academic apologists want to say,” the University of Florida political scientist Michael McDonald observed. “It is ‘credit claiming.’”
As Biden’s victory was made official, uncertainty lingered over the remainder of Trump’s term.
The President has just two weeks left in power, but every Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday urged Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove Trump from office, and reports indicated some in the executive branch were discussing Trump’s potential removal as well. Other legislators prepared articles of impeachment.
From the Senate floor Wednesday, Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) said the day’s events illustrated “the damage that can result when men in power and responsibility refuse to acknowledge the truth.”
“We saw bloodshed because a demagogue chose to spread falsehoods and sow distrust of his own fellow Americans,” he said.
Cristina Cabrera contributed to this report.