Congress Certifies Presidential Nomination

As fraudulent voting claims have run rampant with President Donald Trump supporters, Trump’s supporters sieged the United States Capitol Building against the electoral college vote, to “stop the steal.”

Trump%27s+supporters+broke+past+security+measures+to+the+steps+and+inside+of+the+Capitol+Building%2C+waving+Trump+flags+in+the+process.+

Samuel Corum, Getty Images

Trump’s supporters broke past security measures to the steps and inside of the Capitol Building, waving Trump flags in the process.

In Washington D.C. on Jan. 6, 2021, Trump supporters surrounded and later broke into the Capitol Building during the official Congressional certification of the 2020 presidential election. President Donald Trump spoke at a rally earlier that day to “take back America” and encouraged Vice President Mike Pence to halt the certification. At 1:15 p.m., the first dispute over the Arizona results began, and along with that came insurrectionists breaking the first few barricades toward Capitol Hill. 

As protesters breached the inside of the Capitol Building, Congress had been ordered into a recess and to evacuate the floor to remain safe. According to CBS News, no Representatives or Senators were harmed in the situation, though one woman was shot at the Capitol and pronounced dead; the next morning, three others were announced dead due to medical emergencies, totaling four casualties.

Hours later, President-elect Biden spoke to the public, and shortly after, Biden condemned these actions and urged the President to address the situation and for the violence to end.

“At this hour, our democracy is under unprecedented assault unlike anything we’ve seen in modern times,” President-elect Biden said in a televised address. “It must end, now. I call on this mob to pull back and allow the work of democracy to go forward … I call on President Donald Trump to go on national television now to fulfill his oath and defend the Constitution.” 

Shortly after, President Trump released a video to address his supporters, which led to Twitter and Facebook suspending his accounts because of the false and fraudulent information regarding the election. Both companies cited that his video could incite more violence.

Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington D.C. ordered a 6 p.m curfew to reduce any additional harm. 

The insurrectionists set foot in congressional offices and caused damage in the Capitol and fear among the nation. In a historic moment, the Confederate flag was waved on capitol grounds in the United States Capitol Building, which had never happened in American history. The last time the Capitol was breached was in 1814 by the British after the War of 1812.

Law enforcement emptied the building shortly before the curfew of all protesters. Speaker Pelosi urged her colleagues that once it is safe, they are to get back to work to certify the election and speak to her connections in the FBI and the Pentagon to confirm that would be the plan of action. 

Republican and Democratic lawmakers had similar reactions to the Capitol Building’s breach, condemning the violence and vandalism done to the historical site. Furthermore, four former presidents have spoken on these actions; President George W. Bush referred to it as a “violent assault on the Capitol – and disruption of a Constitutionally-mandated meeting of Congress.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham from South Carolina had supported President Trump during his presidency and his earlier efforts to take voter fraud allegations to court and contest the results. Multiple Republicans in the Senate who had supported President Trump’s actions in earlier months now rebuked them to continue the certification; such individuals include Sen. Kelly Loeffler from Georgia in addition to Sen. Graham. As Congress reconvened to count electoral votes, Sen. Graham expressed that he will no longer contest the elections.

“Count me out; enough is enough.” Sen. Graham said.

According to ABC News, Democrats in Congress have been calling upon Vice President Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment and impeach President Trump from office, two weeks before President-elect Biden’s inauguration, and to prevent him from running for reelection. This garnered support from multiple Democratic lawmakers.

Rep. Ilhan Omar from Minnesota also announced that she is “Drawing up Articles of Impeachment” in a Tweet on Jan. 6, in the midst of taking shelter in the Capitol Building. However, this impeachment effort is unlikely to proceed without the support of Republicans in the Senate. 

The election was certified on Jan. 7, 2021, at 3:40 a.m. Since the afternoon of Jan. 6, this certification persisted with Pennsylvania and Arizona certification being officially entertained by the opposition but failed on the Congress floor. Attempts were made for Nevada, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Georgia as well. Still, they were quickly rejected by Vice President Pence on technicalities outlined in Sections 15 and 17 in Article III of the United States Constitution. 

This effectively made Biden Jr. the official 46th President-elect of the United States, with his term commencing on Jan. 20, 2021. He will be entering his presidency with his party in control over the Senate and House of Representatives, as Democrats secured both Senate seats in the Georgia runoff election the same day the protests occurred.

Image source: Samuel Corum of Getty Images