Trump promises peaceful transfer of power as US Congress certifies Biden’s victory
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THE United States Congress has certified the Electoral College victory of Joe Biden, US president-elect, in the early hours of Wednesday.
The certification, which was presided over by Mike Pence, incumbent vice president, is a constitutional requirement by Congress in the United States electoral law to recognise the country’s incoming president and vice president.
The certification finalises the 2020 US electoral process and ensures that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be inaugurated on January 20, despite Trump’s weeks-long efforts to overturn the vote, including urging his supporters to converge on the Capitol on Wednesday, resulting in violence inside and outside the building.
The US Constitution requires Congress to count the votes of the Electoral College submitted by the states.
The Congress was to certify Biden’s 306 Electoral College votes. Trump, who has rejected the outcome of the election claiming the process was marred by voter fraud, polled 232 Electoral College votes.
Though a faction of Republican senators and House members had intended to object to Wednesday’s count of electors from key states that had given Biden the win, they were unable to present evidence of substantial fraud that would overturn the vote in any state.
The contested states were Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. Courts have repeatedly dismissed dozens of Trump’s legal claims.
Instead, the House and the Senate, which reconvened on Wednesday night, voted to reject objections to Arizona’s vote. The Senate voted 93-6 to reject the objection to Arizona’s vote. The House voted 303 to 121 to dismiss the objection to Arizona.
A second objection to Pennsylvania’s vote pushed the process into the early hours of Thursday morning, with only 7 Senators approving it and 92 voting against. In the House, it was rejected 282 to 138, paving the way for the final certification.
On Wednesday, shortly before the certification exercise, Trump had made inciting comments to thousands of supporters outside the White House.
“If you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore,” Trump had said.
Following his comments, his supporters thronged to the Capitol Hill and breached the facility with utter disdain to peace and order.
It took the intervention of security operatives to restore relative normalcy to the city.
A woman was reportedly shot dead while three other people died from medical emergencies.
The police said they recovered two pipe bombs from the Republican and Democratic Party offices near the Capitol, while about 52 people were arrested.
Republicans decried the mob action, and Democrats blamed Trump for inciting it.
“Today was ugly,” said Senator Ben Sasse, a Republican, said. “This building has been desecrated. Blood has been spilled in the hallways.”
Former President Barack Obama said in a tweet that violence at the Capitol was “incited by a sitting president who has continued to baselessly lie about the outcome of a lawful election.”
Former presidents George W Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter also denounced the storming of the Capitol.
World leaders react
The Capitol Hill invasion has attracted wide condemnation for the Trump administration all over the globe with many calling for an orderly and peaceful transfer of power.
“Disgraceful scenes in U.S. Congress,” UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted. “The United States stands for democracy around the world and it is now vital that there should be a peaceful and orderly transfer of power.”
Disgraceful scenes in U.S. Congress. The United States stands for democracy around the world and it is now vital that there should be a peaceful and orderly transfer of power.
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) January 6, 2021
Nicola Sturgeon, the first minister of Scotland, tweeted that the “scenes from the Capitol are utterly horrifying.”
The scenes from the Capitol are utterly horrifying. Solidarity with those in 🇺🇸 on the side of democracy and the peaceful and constitutional transfer of power. Shame on those who have incited this attack on democracy.
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) January 6, 2021
Micheál Martin, the prime minister of Ireland, tweeted that he was watching the developments in the U.S. “with great concern and dismay.”
The Irish people have a deep connection with the United States of America, built up over many generations. I know that many, like me, will be watching the scenes unfolding in Washington DC with great concern and dismay. 🇮🇪 🇺🇸
— Micheál Martin (@MichealMartinTD) January 6, 2021
Meanwhile, in a statement on Thursday, Trump promised an orderly transfer of power to Biden even though he disagrees with the outcome of the polls.
“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.