US Congress certifies Joe Biden’s victory
Trump assures orderly transition of power
The United States Congress has affirmed President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory over President Donald Trump on Thursday.
The counting of Vermont’s three electoral votes put Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris over the 270-threshold needed to win the presidency.
The certification comes after Pro-Trump rioters invaded the US Capitol on Wednesday.
Congress rejected challenges to Biden’s win in Arizona and Pennsylvania. Efforts were made to challenge the counts in Georgia, Michigan, Nevada and Wisconsin, but after the mob violence, Senate Republicans dropped objections to Biden’s wins there, eliminating any need for debate.
“The announcement of the state of the vote by the President of the Senate shall be deemed a sufficient declaration of the persons elected President and Vice President of the United States, each for the term beginning on the 20th day of January 2021 and shall be entered together with the list of the votes on the journals of the Senate and the House of Representatives,” Vice President Mike Pence said following the count of all the Electoral College votes.
The riot at the US Capitol had sent lawmakers scrambling for safety, but members of Congress returned undeterred to fulfil their duty in certifying Biden’s 306-232 Electoral College win.
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Some of the lawmakers, who earlier supported Trump’s efforts to overturn the election, made a U-turn after the “shameful” incident that led to the death of one woman.
After the affirmation of Biden’s 306-232 victory over Trump, the president immediately released a statement pledging an “orderly transition“.
“Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th,” he said.
Biden had called the violence an “insurrection“, saying, “Our democracy’s under unprecedented assault. This is not dissent. It’s disorder. It’s chaos. It borders on sedition. And it must end now.”
Historians said it was the first time that the Capitol had been taken over since 1814 when the British burned it during the War of 1812.
For more than two centuries, the joint session of Congress has been a quiet, ceremonial event that formally certifies the election winner.
Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell, closely aligned with Trump throughout his presidency, had tried to prevent the challenges. He noted that the election results were not even close, and that dozens of courts had thrown out lawsuits alleging irregularities.
“If this election were overturned by mere allegations from the losing side, our democracy would enter a death spiral,” McConnell said.