Congress certified President-elect Joe Biden’s victory just before 4 a.m. on Thursday morning, after which President Trump committed to an “orderly transition” of power in two weeks.
Vice President Mike Pence read the final Electoral College tally, 306 votes for Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and 232 for Trump and Pence, capping a tumultuous day in which a violent pro-Trump mob broke into the U.S. Capitol.
With that announcement, following a failed attempt by some GOP lawmakers to challenge some of the results, Biden is set to be sworn in at noon on Jan. 20.
Dan Scavino, the White House deputy chief of staff for communications and director of social media, issued a message from Trump, who just hours earlier claimed he won the election and pledged never to concede.
“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,” Trump said. “I have always said we would continue our fight to ensure that only legal votes were counted. While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it’s only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again!”
Hours earlier, on Wednesday, the bitter Trump had exhorted a crowd estimated in the hundreds of thousands to march on Capitol Hill as Congress was set to conduct the task of certifying each state’s electoral votes. While some streamed peacefully to the building, pandemonium erupted when scores sought to enter, pressing past barricades and clashing with police. Once inside, lawmakers and media hunkered down or fled while the hordes roamed through the sea of power, some even posting selfies on social media.
One woman was shot and killed inside the building by law enforcement and dozens were arrested. Police revealed three others died as a result of the chaos. According to DC Police Chief Robert Contee, one adult woman and two adult men died from separate medical emergencies. As the chaos unfolded, Trump urged the crowd to “go home in peace” in a series of Tweets, but it took the efforts of local and federal authorities and a 6 p.m. curfew to restore order. Lawmakers resumed the deliberations around 8 p.m. Wednesday, with many decrying the earlier chaos and laying the blame at President Trump’s feet.
Trump and his legal team have claimed Democrat governors and state courts in Pennsylvania, Arizona, Georgia and others changed election rules set by their own state Legislatures in violation, they say, of the U.S. Constitution. They also have argued other improprieties occurred that caused Trump’s Election Night lead to wither away.Ironically, some lawmakers who had previously indicated they would support a challenge to certain states’ vote counting changed their minds in light of the frightening earlier events.
With Thursday’s action, there no longer appears to be any viable path for Trump to contest the election.