The US House of Representatives and Senate on Thursday certified Joe Biden’s election as US president and Kamala Harris as vice president.
Vice President Mike Pence declared that Congress had confirmed the Electoral College result. The formal tally of Electoral College results counts the total 538 electoral votes, out of which Biden won 306 and Trump 232.
Biden is now cleared to be sworn in as president on January 20.
The certification is normally a quick formality, and is the final step in confirming a president’s election under the US Constitution.
But proceedings had been disrupted Wednesday afternoon by a mob of outgoing President Donald Trump’s supporters who stormed the US Capitol.
The votes are contained in two mahogany boxes, which were whisked out of the rotunda before the pro-Trump mob had the chance to damage or destroy them.
A slew of Republican lawmakers had said they would object to certifying Biden’s Electoral College victory in several battleground states, an unusual move following up on President Trump’s baseless claims of voter fraud.
Senators had to be evacuated after Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, trying to prevent confirmation of Biden’s victory.
The session was interupted. After it reconvened Wednesday evening, the House and Senate rejected the objection to the results in Arizona and Pennsylvania.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said following the violence that Congress “will not be deterred’‘ in confirming the results of the presidential election, calling the storming of the Capitol a “failed insurrection.”
Vice President Mike Pence formally presides over the session counting the electoral votes. Trump has falsely claimed that Pence has the power to reject electors that have been “fraudulently” chosen.
Pence himself rejected this claim Wednesday, saying he does not have the power to reject votes and called the process “largely ceremonial.”
“To those who wreaked havoc in our Capitol today — you did not win,” said Pence after lawmakers returned to the Senate chamber. “Let’s get back to work,” he added.
Wednesday’s violent attack on the Capitol caused several Republican lawmakers to reverse their opposition to certifying Biden’s victory.
Perhaps the most notable flip was Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler, who just lost her Senate seat in a runoff election, and had promised loyalty to Trump at a rally on Monday.
“When I arrived in Washington this morning, I fully intended to object to the certification of the electoral votes,” Loeffler said. “However, the events that have transpired today have forced me to reconsider and I cannot now in good conscience object to the certification of these electors.”
Two other Republican lawmakers, Steve Daines of Montana and James Lankford of Oklahoma, also said they would stand down in their opposition.
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, one of Trump’s staunchest allies in Congress, rejected an effort by his fellow Republicans to object to investigate Trump’s unsubstantiated allegations of election fraud.
“All I can say is count me out. Enough is enough,” Graham said on the floor of the Senate. “Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are lawfully elected and will become the president and the vice president of the United States on January 20.”
US Represenqtive Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota said she would draw up plans to impeach President Trump; even though there are just two weeks left before President-elect Joe Biden takes office.
Omar wrote on Twitter that “we can’t allow him to remain in office.”
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, another Democratic lawmaker, echoed Omar’s call in a one-word tweet: “Impeach.”
US lawmakers certify Joe Biden election victory The British Journal Editors and Wire Services/ Deutsche Welle.