Donald Trump finally accepted his fate today after Vice President Mike Pence ended his desperate campaign to overturn the election at 3:41 a.m. Thursday morning and certified President-elect Joe Biden’s win – despite the attempt of scores of Republicans and a violent MAGA mob to object to it.
After Pence announced the final electoral college tally, Trump said there would be an ‘orderly transition’ – a hallmark of American democracy he had repeatedly called into question – but still claimed falsely that the election was stolen despite 50 states, a series of judges and now the U.S. Congress dismissing challenges to the result.
‘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 20,’ 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.’
Pence made the final announcement after a nearly 15-hour saga that saw rioting supporters of President Donald Trump mob the U.S. Capitol Building in a day of carnage and shame that left four dead, saw pipe bombs, long guns and Molotov cocktails discovered in the Capitol grounds – and left America’s image as the beacon of democracy reeling.
The MAGA mob – which included white supremacists, Holocaust deniers and Q Anon followers – interrupted the certification of results as they smashed through police barricades, stormed into the halls of the Capitol and even sat in the Senate chamber.
They looted offices, vandalized statues and confronted police as they rampaged through the Capitol, carrying Confederate flags, in hours of anarchy which shocked the world. Lawmakers were rushed off the floor of the House and Senate – and brought back at 8pm under armed guard while outside the mob defied a curfew in D.C. The president who had whipped them into fury tweeted: ‘You are special. You are loved.’
Congress’ overwhelming rejection of attempts to overturn the vote and Pence’s role in it will surely further enrage Trump, who wanted his VP to unilaterally overrule Biden’s win. But the president was banished from Twitter for 12 hours Wednesday due to violating the company’s rules meaning he could not vent on his favorite medium.
With just 13 days left of his presidency, Trump is now at war with Mitch McConnell, facing whispers of his own cabinet trying to force him out and Democrats openly discussing impeaching him again – while just a handful of senators led by Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley and the majority of the House GOP remain loyal.
It was Hawley who forced Congress to sit late into the night. Biden was at 244 of the 270 Electoral College votes needed when a final challenge of Pennsylvania’s count, signed onto by Josh Hawley, pushed lawmakers back into their respective chambers.
In the Senate, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell skipped the two hours of permitted debate and went straight to a vote.
The upper chamber voted 92-7 to overrule the Republicans’ objection.
‘We don’t expect additional votes tonight,’ he said when things were done. McConnell had been against the GOP effort to challenge the Electoral College vote counts from the beginning.
The House proceeded with debate and then voted 282 to 138 to overrule the challenge of Pennsylvania, with 64 Republicans voting alongside Democrats to make up the majority.
Both houses have to vote in favor of a challenge for it to succeed.
Republicans in the House and Senate had also challenged the votes in Arizona – which prompted two hours of debate, interrupted by the MAGA riot – and that objection was overwhelmingly overruled.
House Republicans also tried to challenge the results in Georgia, Michigan and Nevada, but GOP senators would no longer sign on.
‘Mr. President prior to the actions and events of today we did but following the events of today it appears that some senators have withdrawn their objection,’ admitted Georgia Rep. Jody Hice when challenging the results in his state.
At nearly 4 a.m., Rep. Louie Gohmert tried to get one more challenge through – for the state of Wisconsin – but, again, a senator had withdrawn.
That spelled the end of the MAGA campaign to upend an election and Pence went on to read out the results of the Electoral College: Biden 306, Trump 232.
But he managed to avoid saying ‘Joe Biden is the winner’ or similar words – a minor softening of the blow to Trump by the deputy who had been until this week perhaps his most devoted follower.