Vice President Mike Pence brought the Senate back into session on Wednesday evening with a few words for the Trump-supported angry mob that invaded the Capitol: “you did not win.”
Pence was followed in his statement by Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who condemned the invasion of the national legislature.
Neither directly mentioned the president-sized elephant in the room: Donald Trump, who for hours, in person and through tweets, had egged on the violence against the Capitol.
“Today was a dark day in the history of the United States Capitol,” Pence said. “The Capitol is secured and the people’s work continues.”
As he reconvened Congress to formally certify Joe Biden’s victory in the November elections, Pence addressed the rioters, stating, “to those who wreaked havoc in our Capitol today, you did not win.”
“Violence never wins,” Pence added. “Freedom wins. This is still the people’s house.”
Since a violent mob overtook the Capitol on Wednesday, Pence reportedly approved the order that allowed the D.C. national guard to be deployed in response.
“As we reconvene in this chamber, the world will again witness the resilience and strength of our democracy, for even in the wake of unprecedented violence and vandalism at this capitol, the elected representatives of the people of the United States have assembled again on the very same day to support and defend the constitution of the United States,” Pence concluded.
McConnell spoke next, his voice shaking at times. He opened his remarks simply. “The United States Senate will not be intimidated,” he said, addressing the American people.
“We will not be kept out of this chamber by thugs, mobs or threats,” McConnell added. “We will not bow to lawlessness or intimidation. We are back at our posts. We will discharge our duty under the Constitution and for our nation. And we are going to do it tonight.”
The majority leader stressed that the transfer of power between presidents had never been interrupted, even during the Civil War.
“The United States and the United States Congress have faced down much greater threats than the unhinged crowd we saw today,” he said. “We have never been deterred before and we will not be deterred today.”
“They tried to disrupt our democracy,” he said. “They failed.”
The failed “insurrection,” the majority leader added, “only underscores how crucial the task before us is for our republic.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) took the floor afterwards, and was the first of the three to name Trump explicitly as the catalyst of the day’s violence.
This day was the “final, terrible, indelible legacy of the 45th President of the United States, undoubtedly our worst,” he said.
“The President who promoted conspiracy theories that motivated these thugs, the President that exhorted them to come to our nation’s capital, egged them on — he hardly ever discourages violence and more often encourages it,” Schumer added. “This President bears a great deal of the blame.”