A joint meeting of the Senate and House of Representatives convened to tally and validate the votes of the Electoral College, which voted for Joe Biden on December 14, was cut short after several hundred pro-Donald Trump marchers in Washington on Wednesday threw down metal barricades and broke through to the Capitol building.
Capitol police have ordered the evacuation of two buildings – the James Madison Memorial Building for the Library of Congress and the Cannon House office building, located directly opposite the Capitol.
Earlier Wednesday, US Vice President Mike Pence opened the joint session of Congress.
Recall that President Donald Trump made it clear that he expects his deputy to help in the process of protesting the election results. Mike Pence said that he was also worried about the situation with the authenticity of the Electoral College vote, but at the same time, for almost the first time in four years of working with Donald Trump, he objected to the head of the White House, noting that, from a procedural point of view, this it is not right for him, the US Vice President, to have the authority to unilaterally accept – or reject – electoral votes.
“In my understanding, my oath of allegiance and protection to the Constitution prevents me from unilaterally deciding which electoral votes should be counted and which not,” Pence said.
Pence was backed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who, contrary to custom, criticized not Democrats, but his fellow party members. According to McConnell, protesting the presidential election results at this stage is irrational and could strike a blow to the entire electoral system.
“We can’t just declare ourselves a national election commission on steroids,” McConnell said. – Voters, courts, states – they all expressed their opinion. If we overturn it, it will be such a blow to our republic, from which it will never recover. “
Usually, the election certification process is more ceremonial, but this time it has turned into a test of the loyalty of Republican legislators to President Donald Trump.
More than a hundred Republicans from the House of Representatives and about a dozen senators have said they plan to protest electoral votes from some or all of the six wavering states where Biden won (Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin). They will also demand the creation of a commission to verify the election results.
Their objections are not expected to change the outcome of the election, as Democrats control the House of Representatives. In the Senate, Republicans have a slight edge, but even there objections are unlikely to receive majority support, since several Republican senators have already spoken out against the reversal of election results in any of the states.
According to the results of the Electoral College vote, Biden received 306 votes, Trump – 232. Biden’s inauguration ceremony is scheduled for January 20.