At the end of Trump’s term of office, the confirmation of the election result by Congress will not be a dignified, purely formal act. There is a riot outside the Capitol and Trump supporters have broken into the building. Vice Pence turns against his boss.
After hundreds of supporters from US President Donald Trump rushed to the Capitol in Washington, the parliamentary seat was cordoned off. Inside, both chambers of parliament had gathered to confirm the results of the November presidential election. The protesters made their way into the building. How the meeting will continue is currently unclear.
It is at least clear that US Vice President Mike Pence does not want to block the formal confirmation of the victory of Democrat Joe Biden in the presidential election by Congress. His oath to protect the constitution prevents him from “unilaterally” deciding “which votes should and should not be counted,” said the Republican Pence shortly before the start of the session he chairs as President of the Senate.
Pence opposed Trump’s demands. The elected US president had increased the pressure on his deputy in the past few days to overturn Biden’s election victory. Pence should declare a number of the electorate illegitimate and replace them with those who vote for him, according to Trump.
Trump repeats his unsubstantiated allegations
However, the law only allows Pence to play a ceremonial role at the meeting of the House of Representatives and the Senate – the two houses of Congress. He must confirm the election result in the joint meeting of both chambers. As soon as the votes of the electorate from the various states are officially counted in what is actually a purely formal act, he has to declare the Democrats Biden the winner of the presidential election, his boss Trump and himself the losers.
Trump had claimed, however, that the Vice President had the power to “fraudulently” reject selected voters. “Do it, Mike – these times take extreme courage,” Trump wrote on Twitter – a tweet that was warned by Twitter, like many of Trump’s tweets lately.
Two-hour consultation after the first objection
Pence is said to be aiming to become president in 2024. He’d been loyal to Trump for the past four years.
Since his defeat, Trump has repeatedly claimed that he was robbed of his victory by massive electoral fraud. He did not provide any evidence of this. Dozens of lawsuits by the Trump camp have failed, including before the US Supreme Court. Today he repeated this charge and said that he would “never” acknowledge his defeat. In addition, he spoke to his supporters against “weak” Republicans who wanted to join the certification of Biden’s election victory.
Right at the beginning of the session of the two chambers of congress, Republican MPs lodged an objection, as announced, against the recognition of the result in the US state of Arizona. The objection forced the two chambers of congress to withdraw to separate sessions in order to debate the objections for up to two hours and to vote at the end whether they should follow them or not.
Words of warning from McConnell
The head of the Republicans in the US Senate, Mitch McConnell, warned shortly before the meeting of his party friends that the election result could be suspended. This would damage the United States forever.
The elected President Biden, who is to be inaugurated on January 20, meanwhile, campaigned for unity in the country. After two runoff elections for the US Senate in Georgia saw a Democratic majority in Congress, Biden said, “The American people want action and they want unity. I’m more optimistic than ever that we can do both.”
Trump supporters march to the parliamentary seat
Thousands of Trump supporters demonstrated in Washington. In his speech about alleged fraud in the US presidential election, he called on his supporters to move to the Capitol, which houses the Senate and the House of Representatives.
With information from Arthur Landwehr, ARD-Studio Washington