Congress on Wednesday night resumed the process of counting electoral votes and confirming President-elect Joe Biden‘s victory, hours after swarms of President Donald Trump‘s supporters broke into the U.S. Capitol and derailed the proceedings.
The leaders of both the Republican and Democratic caucuses in the Senate said they would confirm “tonight” Biden’s election, seeming to indicate that there would be no more sustained challenge to the results of individual state’s elections.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a letter to colleagues that the decision to quickly continue tallying votes was made in consultation with political leaders including Vice President Mike Pence, who is presiding over the joint session of Congress.
Police stand guard at the U.S. Capitol during a protest against the certification of the 2020 U.S. presidential election results by the U.S. Congress, in Washington, January 6, 2021.
Jim Bourg | Reuters
“Today was a dark day in the history of the United States Capitol,” Pence said as he opened the session. “We condemn the violence that took place here in the strongest possible terms.”
“The violence was quelled, the Capitol is secured, and the people’s work continues,” Pence said.
“To those who wreaked havoc in our Capitol today, you did not win. Violence never wins. Freedom wins,” he said.
“Let’s get back to work.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said, “The United States Senate will no be intimidated.”
“We are back at our posts, we will discharge our duty,” McConnell said. “We assembled this afternoon to count our citizens’ votes, and to formalize their choice of president.”
“We will certify the winner of the 2020 presidential election,” he concluded.
Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., blasted Trump, whom he called “undoubtedly our worst president,” and whom he said “bears a great deal of the blame” for the riot.
“This mob was in good part President Trump’s doing,” said Schumer. “His responsibility, his everlasting shame.”
Schumer compared the invasion of the Capitol complex by a horde of people to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, saying Jan. 6, 2021, will be another “day of infamy” in American history.
“This temple of democracy was desecrated,” he said. “This will be stain on our country, not so easily washed away.”
“We will begin the hard work of repairing the country tonight.”
The pro-Trump mob triggered lockdowns and evacuations at the Capitol, forcing lawmakers out of the House and Senate chambers shortly after the proceedings began at 1 p.m.
Rioters were recorded walking the halls of the government building, entering politicians’ offices and occupying the Senate chamber. At least one person involved in the riots had died, and multiple other injuries were reported.
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